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Short-handed Bulldogs compile 6-12-4 soccer record
Joshua Yepez soccer
Joshua Yepez and Ceres High’s boys soccer team closed out the 2022-23 season with a 6-0 loss at Grace Davis on Feb. 6. The Bulldogs placed fifth in the WAC standings. - photo by Dale Butler

Ceres High’s boys soccer program sought to win its third straight league title and qualify for the playoffs this winter.

The short-handed Bulldogs fell short of both goals as they closed out the regular season with a 6-0 loss at Grace Davis Spartans on Feb. 6. 

Ceres High compiled a 6-12-4 overall record and finished fifth in the WAC standings (4-7-3).

The top three teams in league were awarded playoff berths.

Grace Davis (15-5-2, 9-3-2) tied for first in the conference standings with Mountain House (12-4-2, 9-3-2).

Second-place Lathrop (12-8-4, 8-3-3) was awarded the WAC’s third-and-final postseason spot.

The Bulldogs went 16-6-1 and won the conference title outright with a 12-1-1 mark last winter.

Ceres High collected eight ties, one loss and one tie en route to winning the WAC South crown during the 2020-21 COVID-shortened campaign. 

“Teams wanted to beat us so bad because of our record the past two years,” Bulldogs’ head coach Gilbert Zamora Jr. said. 

“We had a tough season due to injuries and players going to play with their competitive teams,” he added.

Ceres High lost twice to Grace Davis this year.

The Spartans won the first meeting, 4-0, on Feb. 1 at CUSD Stadium.

“They have a really solid team,” Zamora said. “They possess the ball. They move the ball. They play as a team.”

The Bulldogs’ playoff hopes were dashed during the second-to-last week of the regular season. Ceres High mustered just one goal in losing to Mountain House, Grace Davis and Lathrop.

“We had a chance at one point to make playoffs,” Zamora said. “It just didn’t happen this year. We didn’t have enough experience because of injuries and players going to their travel teams.”

Zamora filled roster spots with JV talent during the second half of WAC play.

The Bulldogs could have used Nicholas Vieyra’s and Luis Flores’ help.

Vieyra and Flores opted to play for their Academy teams.

Gilbert Zamora III and Julio Larranaga were lost before the season started. Zamora III and Larranaga both transferred to crosstown-rival Central Valley. 

Ceres High will lose six players to graduation, including Benjamin Larranaga, Fernando Martinez, Yahir Medina, Oscar Melgar, Joshua Rodriguez and Joshua Yepez.

Larranaga, Medina, Rodriguez and Yepez were starters.

“They’ll be missed,” coach Zamora said. “Josh (Yepez) and Benjamin were the heart of the defense.”

“Next year is going to be tough,” he added. “It’s possible we can be what we used to be. But we have to reconstruct our team.”