Central Valley’s varsity girls soccer program won twice and took over sole possession of first place in the Central California Conference last week.
The Hawks leapfrogged the El Capitan Gauchos in the CCC standings after the two teams battled to a 3-3 tie Thursday evening in Ceres.
Central Valley erased a two-goal deficit in the final 15 minutes.
“It was an intense game,” Hawks’ senior forward Jocelyn Lopez said.
Lopez netted two goals against the second-place Gauchos (5-3-2 and 4-1-1).
Jackie Sanchez had one goal.
Tanya Mendoza and Mixtly Vega both collected one assist.
Lillianna Cruz tallied six saves at goalkeeper.
“League isn’t going to be easy like it was in the past. The girls are a lot more aggressive and competitive. It’s going to prepare us for playoffs.”Jocelyn Lopez
“This game was a wakeup call,” Lopez said. “League isn’t going to be easy like it was in the past. The girls are a lot more aggressive and competitive. It’s going to prepare us for playoffs.”
Down 3-1, Lopez converted a penalty kick and Sanchez scored off a rebound to help the Hawks complete the comeback.
“The thought of losing and seeing El Capitan get the top spot in league made us flip the switch,” Lopez said. “We pulled it together at the end. We played to our potential. It’s not surprising. My whole team works well under pressure.”
Central Valley cruised to a 4-0 win over Buhach Colony on Jan. 15 in Atwater.
Sanchez and Abigail Martinez both scored twice versus the fourth-place Thunder (5-7-1, 1-4-1).
Yaira Contreras dished out two assists.
Daniela Yepez had one assist.
Central Valley improved to 11-6-1 on the year and 5-0-1 in the CCC standings.
The Hawks are vying for their fourth straight league title.
Central Valley finished first in the Western Athletic Conference the previous three seasons.
The Hawks advanced to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III championship game and lost just twice during the 2017-18 campaign.
“There is a lot of pressure,” Lopez said. “We’ve raised the bar pretty high the last few years. We’ve had so much success. We want to continue that tradition.”