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Lopez wins league MVP
CV leader Larranaga named Western Athletic Conference Coach of Year
Jocelyn Lopez, pictured left celebrating with Emely Lopez after Central Valley upset Sierra 5-4 in penalty kicks during the semifinals of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III playoffs, was voted Western Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player on March 15. Emely Lopez earned second-team all-league accolades. - photo by WAYNE THALLANDER/The Courier

Unstoppable on the pitch, junior forward Jocelyn Lopez piled up 22 goals and five assists while leading Central Valley's varsity girls soccer team to its third consecutive Western Athletic Conference title this winter.

Lopez was named Most Valuable Player of the WAC in a vote by the league's head coaches on Feb. 15 at Pizza Plus in Hilmar.

"She deserved it," Hawks' head coach Miguel Larranaga said. "She was the best player in the league. She dominated every team."

Jocelyn ranked first in conference play in points (49) and goals, and was third in assists.

Lopez collected 33 goals and nine assists on the year.

"She's talented," Larranaga said. "She's very competitive. All of the other girls look up to her. She puts the teams on her shoulders when needed. It's hard to find players like that."

Hawk teammates Jackie Sanchez, Abigail Martinez, Mariana Garibay, Citlaly Salinas, Mixtly Vega, Emely Lopez and Amanda Calvo all earned all-WAC honors.

Larranaga, Ceres High's Miguel Saldate and Livingston's Maricela Alvear shared the Coach of the Year award.

The Hawks (9-1-0), Bulldogs (7-1-2) and Wolves (6-2-2) finished first, second and third, respectively, in the WAC standings.

"I'm just lucky to have a wonderful team," Larranaga said. "They're the ones who play. I don't."

Jackie, Abigail, Mariana and Citlaly were selected to the WAC First Team.

Sanchez, a junior forward/midfielder, ranked first in the WAC in assists (10) and third in goals scored (7).

"She's always positive," Larranaga said. "The energy she has is amazing. She never gets tired. She's got a big heart."

Martinez, a junior defender, tallied seven goals and six assists. "When she plays the game, she transforms into something different," Larranaga said. "She's very aggressive. She doesn't let anybody pass her."

Garibay, a senior midfielder, contributed two goals and five assists.

"It was a pleasure to watch her play," Larranaga said. "She made it look easy. But it's not."

Salinas, a sophomore defender, had two goals and three assists.

She was named WAC co-Defensive Player of the Year as a freshman.

"She played her position really well," Larranaga said. "She's somebody I could trust."

Mixtly, Emely and Amanda earned second-team all-league honors.

Vega, a junior midfielder, had four goals and four assists.

"She made good decisions with the ball," Larranaga said.

Lopez, a senior, starred at goalkeeper.

She also contributed on offense by scoring twice.

"She was a big part of our team," Larranaga said. "We're really going to miss her."

Calvo, a junior, was one of the Hawks' starting midfielders. "She's got a lot of skills," Larranaga said.