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Hawks pull away for 4-2 soccer victory against Bulldogs
Gilberto Flores (pictured right) contributed on defense during Central Valleys 4-2 triumph against Jay Gomes (22) and crosstown-rival Ceres High last Thursday at Bulldog Stadium. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Central Valley's varsity boys soccer team continued its dominance of crosstown-rival Ceres High last week.

The Hawks improved their all-time record versus the Bulldogs to 16-3-6 with a 4-2 road victory on Jan. 4.

Central Valley has lost just three times to Ceres High since the two programs faced off for the first time in 2007.

"Every time we play them, it's an intense game no matter what our records are," said junior forward Gerardo Flores, who accounted for the Hawks' second and fourth goals. "You're playing for pride. It's one of the most important games. It makes the game fun."

"Even though we're ahead when it comes to those numbers, it's always competitive," Central Valley head coach Omar Leon said. "Nobody wants to lose."

Central Valley moved to 7-3-3 on the year and 1-0-0 in the Western Athletic Conference play.

Ceres High dropped to 2-9-2 and 0-1-0.

"It's a positive to start league with a win," Leon said. "We beat our city rival. That's a plus."

"We had to win this game," Flores added. "That was our mindset."

Jonathan Garcia and freshman Agustin Gutierrez both scored once for the Hawks.

Sophomore Mauricio Perez had one assist.

Sophomore goalkeeper Erick Martinez, formerly of Ceres High, made three saves.
Martinez, who earned first-team all-conference honors with the Bulldogs as a freshman, sat out the entire preseason because of the CIF transfer rule.

"His first official game with us was against his old team," Leon said. "He was very anxious. He's the best goalie we've had in a while. He's been playing the position his whole life. He has a good foundation."

Christian Martinez accounted for both of Ceres High's goals.

Bulldog goalie Bryan Silva totaled four saves.

The Hawks and Bulldogs faced off for the 25th time this past week.

Ceres High grabbed a 1-0 lead when Martinez converted a penalty kick five minutes into the second half.

Central Valley responded with a 4-1 scoring barrage to secure the victory.

Gutierrez's goal gave the Hawks a 3-1 lead.

"It shook us when they scored," Flores said. "But we knew we could come back. We stayed composed and focused on the game. We kept attacking. We knew the goals would fall."

"We had plenty of time to turn it around," Leon said.

Central Valley was forced to change its style of play due to Ceres High's muddy, rain-soaked field.

"The field was horrible," Leon said. "It made it nearly impossible to move and hold possession of the ball. We had to adjust. We had to play long ball, which I hate."

The Hawks collected two wins (6-0, 2-0) and one tie (1-1) against the Bulldogs last year.

Central Valley and Ceres High placed third and fifth, respectively, in the WAC standings. "We have to improve to finish higher in league," Flores said.

Central Valley will play host to Los Banos on Thursday at 6 p.m.

Ceres High will compete at Patterson tomorrow at 5:30 p.m.