For the fourth time in five years, Central Valley High School’s varsity boys soccer team will play for a section title.
The top-seeded Hawks punched their ticket to the Division-III finals with a 4-0 win over No. 4 Vanden on Wednesday in Ceres.
“I thought it was going to be a closer game,” Central Valley star midfielder Ozzie Ramos said. “Unfortunately for them, it wasn’t. This gives us a lot of confidence. We’re going into the championship game confident, not cocky. We want to reward our coach. He’s suffered getting to the finals and losing. He deserves a section title. We’re going to do our part to make that happen.”
Central Valley secured its 20th straight victory and improved to 26-1 on the year.
Vanden (17-1-1) suffered its first loss of the season.
Omar Orozco, the state’s leading scorer, led the Hawks last week with two goals.
Ramos collected one goal and two assists.
Juan Medrano had one goal and one assist.
Hawk goalkeeper David Saucedo totaled six saves.
Orozco tallied his 44th and 45th goals on the year while helping Central Valley build a 2-0 lead in the opening half.
Medrano scored on a header and Ozzie converted a penalty kick in the second half.
“It could have gone either way,” Hawks head coach Omar Leon said. “Playing at home gives you an advantage. We were very consistent. We were more precise. We managed the game really well.”
Central Valley had to settle for runner-up honors in the section finals during the 2012, 2010 and 2009 seasons.
The Hawks are fighting to erase past demons.
“Our school is only going to accept a win,” Ramos said. “We’re definitely picturing seeing the blue banner in our gym. It’s never been done before. We’re really confident this is the year.”
Central Valley will face third-seeded Christian Brothers (14-3-4) in the finals at Stagg High School on Saturday at 2 p.m. in Stockton. The Falcons pulled away for a 3-1 victory over Ceres High in the semifinals earlier this week.
Will Central Valley make program history?
“The kids are very motivated,” Leon said. “They’ve made a lot of sacrifices. If they play like they did today, we’ll have a very good chance. Winning it would be the best accomplishment that we could possibly have. That’s as high as you can go in soccer. It would put our program up there where it’s supposed to be. God-willing, we’ll take it this year.”