Such was the case Thursday, Oct. 18, for Patterson High’s varsity boys soccer team, as senior Adrian Ramirez took advantage of an opportunity that proved to be the difference maker in a 1-0 Western Athletic Conference triumph over the Central Catholic High Raiders.
“For some reason, Central Catholic matches up well against us,” said Patterson coach Greg Hartsell. “We just have trouble getting by this team the way we should. We knew that we were going to have to come in here and fight for a win.”
Patterson (9-1-1 WAC) swept the season series against Central Catholic, of Modesto, with its fourth straight victory.
In doing so, the Tigers gave themselves a chance to wrap up at least a share of the league title Wednesday, Oct. 24, with a win against the Pacheco High Panthers of Los Banos at Patterson Community Stadium.
Following Thursday’s win, Patterson was tied for first place in the conference standings with Central Valley High of Ceres (9-1-1), with one match remaining for each squad in the regular season.
Should both schools finish with the same league record, the Tigers would own the tiebreaker advantage in Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoff seeding, because of their 1-0-1 record against the Central Valley Hawks during the regular season.
Results of the final regular-season games were not available at press time.
“We all know the importance of our game with Pacheco,” Hartsell said. “We can’t go into that game overconfident. We have to prepare with the right mindset.”
Near the 60th minute against Central Catholic, Ramirez, a defender, got his opportunity to score with a free kick from about 20 yards away.
Ramirez’s blast had enough arc to elude the outstretched hands of a leaping Central Catholic goalkeeper, ricocheting off the crossbar and then careening off the left post to land in the net.
“We kept attacking (Central Catholic’s) goal, especially in the second half,” Hartsell said. “We finally got one in, and it was a big one for us.”
Hartsell said a league crown and a playoff spot were just two of many goals the Tigers hoped to realize.
“First, we want to concentrate on Pacheco and take care of them,” he said. “For now, we can’t think about anything else.”
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or firstname.lastname@example.org.