Saul Ruiz's superb play earned him a major honor.
The Ceres High varsity boys soccer standout was voted co-Defender of the Year during the Western Athletic Conference year-end coaches' meeting on Feb. 15 in Hilmar.
"He deserved it," Bulldogs' head coach Danny Barragan said. "He stood out compared to other guys."
Ruiz, a junior center defender, was recognized for his fearless play on the pitch.
He shared the award with Pacheco's Alfonso Lopez.
Saul helped the Bulldogs secure a pair of 1-1 ties with WAC-champion Pacheco, a 1-1 draw against second-place Livingston and a 2-0 win over Los Banos.
"His attitude is great," Barragan said. "He never backs down. When it comes to playing hard, it's not a problem for him. He would make guys fly when it came to using his body. He's a guy I trust."
Ruiz could be in the running for WAC MVP next winter if Ceres High performs better as a team.
"It's a possibility," Barragan said.
Bulldog teammates Christian Martinez and Freddi Lopez were both selected to the WAC Second Team.
Martinez, a senior middle forward, led the Bulldogs in scoring.
Christian was also a team captain.
"He was our best all-round player,' Barragan said. "He had good leadership skills. I wish I had more players like him."
Martinez did not play soccer in 2017.
Christian competed at the junior-varsity level as a sophomore and freshman.
"I had him freshmen year when I coached JV," Barragan said. "I knew he had talent. He wanted to be the best."
A backup goalkeeper at the varsity level as a sophomore, Freddi earned the starting position this season.
Lopez replaced 2017 first-team all-conference selection Erik Martinez, who transferred to crosstown-rival Central Valley.
"We didn't have the greatest season but he saved us a lot," Barragan said. "He was always in the right spot. He really stepped up. He surprised me and everyone else."
Ceres High (2-5-3) finished fifth overall in the WAC standings.
Pacheco (6-0-4), Livingston (5-1-4), Central Valley (5-3-2) and Patterson (5-4-1) placed first, second, third and fourth.
Los Banos (0-10-0) was last.