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Father bests daughters on pitch
Miguel Larranaga has coached his daughters Edith (pictured left) and Miranda their entire lives. That changed this past week when Miguel and Central Valley battled Edith, Miranda and Ceres High. The Hawks prevailed 1-0 on Thursday at Bulldog Stadium. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Thursday's Western Athletic Conference season-opening game between Central Valley's and Ceres High's varsity girls soccer teams pitted father against daughters.

Miguel Larranaga coaches the reigning WAC-champion Hawks.

Edith and Miranda are key players for the Bulldogs, who made program history by claiming their first-ever league title during the 2014-15 school year.

Miguel earned bragging rights as Central Valley edged Ceres High 1-0 last week at Bulldog Stadium.

"Family and friends have been talking about it for the past month and a half," said Miguel, first-year leader of the Hawks. "There was a lot of pressure on everybody. Being on the opposite side was different. I've always been their coach."

"We were motivated," Edith said. "Me and my sister wanted to beat my dad and Central Valley. They're our rivals. I knew it was going to be a close game."

A third-year varsity player, Edith started at sweeper versus Central Valley.

"I had a lot of fun," she said. "But it was stressful. I couldn't sleep the night before. My dad knows how we play. He knows how all of our girls play."

A second-year varsity starter, Miranda contributed at center midfielder against the Hawks.

She's just a sophomore.

Edith, Miranda and Ceres High teammates Mariah Trevino, Siriana Gudino, Yanelli Rodriguez and Arianah Martinez are all coached by Miguel during the travel soccer season.

They play for Ceres Earthquakes FC.
"Half the team is at Central Valley and Ceres High," Miguel said.

"We know all of their girls," Edith said. "We're all friends. We grew up together."

Jocelyn Lopez's second-half goal propelled Central Valley past Ceres High last week.

"It was weird shaking my dad's hand after the game," Edith said.

Miguel was hired to help Central Valley maintain its recent run of success.

Maria Briones led the Hawks to a 20-3-1 overall record, their second straight WAC title (13-1-1) and a top-eight finish in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs in 2017.

Cyndi Meshach, Briones' predecessor, coached Central Valley for eight seasons.

The Hawks accumulated 29 wins, 13 losses and five draws in WAC play during her final four years. Central Valley won one league championship and participated in the playoffs twice.

"It was a tough decision in the beginning," Miguel said. "I've been coaching them forever. They didn't want me to coach their rival. They wanted me to watch them play. With time, they understood. It's an opportunity for me to do something I love. We'll be back together at the end of the season with our competitive team."

"We didn't think he was going to take the job at CV," Edith said. "We thought he was joking. We felt betrayed. But at the same time, our dad loves coaching."

The crosstown rematch will be staged at Central Valley on Jan. 27 at 3:15 p.m.

The Hawks and Bulldogs placed first and second, respectively, in the 2017 WAC standings.

Ceres High snapped Central Valley's 17-game unbeaten streak with a 1-0 victory last winter.

The Hawks beat the Bulldogs twice (2-1, 4-1) earlier in the season.

"When we play Central Valley again, we'll do a lot better and maybe even win," Edith said.