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Ruiz wins WAC’s MVP award
• Saul led Dawgs in scoring with 18 goals
Seven members of Ceres High’s boys soccer program earned Western Athletic Conference honors, including senior Saul Ruiz (pictured). Ruiz was voted the WAC’s Most Valuable Player. - photo by Dale Butler

The Western Athletic Conference’s top varsity boys soccer players were chosen during the league’s year-end coaches’ meeting on Feb. 11 at Pacheco High School.

Praise was heaped on seven of Ceres High’s 11 starters, including Saul Ruiz, Andres Madriz, Victor Hurtado, Ivan Arita, Rafael Guzman, Luis Medina and Leo Trujillo.

Ruiz was voted the WAC’s Most Valuable Player during his final season with the Bulldogs. He was named the league’s co-Defender of the Year as a junior.

“At the beginning of the season, I didn’t think he’d be nominated for MVP,” Ceres High head coach Danny Barragan said. “I didn’t name him team captain because he was so quite. The stats show he deserved it (the award). He was the best all-round player in league. All the other coaches remember No. 23 from Ceres High.”

Ruiz’s main position was defender but he also contributed at forward. He led Ceres High in scoring with 18 goals and dished out two assists.

“It’s impressive,” Barragan said. “You don’t see too many defenders leading a team in scoring. I’m not surprised. He has the ability to score using his head. His size is one of his strengths.  He’s dedicated. He has a great attitude. He’s a team player.”

Andres Madriz, Victor Hurtado and Ivan Arita earned first-team all-league honors.

Madriz, a junior forward, collected 14 goals and six assists.

He was the second-leading scorer on the team and tied for second in assists.

Hurtado, a junior defender, had three goals and one assist.

Arita, a senior defender, had one assist.

Rafael Guzman, Luis Medina and Leo Trujillo were named to the WAC Second Team.

Guzman, a senior midfielder, had eight goals and nine assists.

Medina, a junior forward/midfielder, had six goals and six assists.

Trujillo, a senior goalkeeper, tallied 134 saves.

“We should have had more than seven guys recognized,” Barragan said. “I’m sure some people might not agree.”

Johansen (12-0-2, 38 points) edged out Ceres High (11-0-3, 36 points) for the WAC title. The two teams tied twice during conference play. The Bulldogs had two goals disallowed in the second half of their 1-1 stalemate with the Vikings on Dec. 19.

Led by Ruiz, Hurtado and Arita, Ceres High’s defense allowed just seven goals in 14 league games. 

“The kids listened and the results showed,” Barragan said. “We didn’t lose any games. We had one more tie than Johansen.”