The Tigers open the first round of the Division III playoffs Thursday, Nov. 1, against Tri-County League champion River Valley High of Yuba City (7-2-1 TCL).
Game time is slated for 3 p.m.
The Tigers (10-1-1 WAC) finished the regular season tied for first place in the conference standings with Central Valley High of Ceres, but they have the tiebreaker advantage in Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoff seeding because of their 1-0-1 record against the Hawks.
“This is a tough league, loaded with talent and strong teams,” said Patterson coach Greg Hartsell. “Winning and finishing on top really says a lot about our players. From day one, we worked hard, and we got the prize.”
Sophomore Andres Herrrera scored four goals for Patterson as his team dominated the Pacheco Panthers on the last day of the regular season and claimed the No. 1 seed in the WAC.
“We really wanted this,” Herrera said. “We told each other before the game that we could achieve anything. We just needed to put our minds to it and finish what we started.”
The Tigers got the scoring started less than six minutes into the game.
Sophomore Marcos Melendez played a pass to the overlapping Herrera , who ran down the center of the box to meet the ball and kicked it past the diving Pacheco keeper, giving Patterson a 1-0 lead.
In the 25th minute, the Tigers senior Kiki Gonzalez took the ball down the right flank and sent it low across the goal box. The pass reached the far post, where Herrera was waiting, and he flicked the ball past Pacheco’s keeper for the two-goal lead.
“From our defense to our offense — we needed effort from everyone,” Gonzalez said. “If we could play well, then we knew that everything was going to turn out all right.”
Two minutes later, Patterson senior Adrian Ramirez took the ball into the box and calmly sent a low shot to the back post, making the score 3-0.
“We know we have to try our hardest when we take the field,” Ramirez said. “If we keep our minds in the game and we can keep our focus, we can go a long way (in the playoffs).”
A goal in the 31st minute put Pacheco on the scoreboard.
But with less than two minutes left in the opening half, junior Alonso Ortega dribbled up the middle of the pitch and passed in front of the Pacheco goal. Gonzalez fought off pressure from a Panther defender to kick the ball home for the 4-1 lead at the intermission.
Patterson tallied two more goals in the second half, both scores from Herrera, to put the Panthers away for good.
“We knew we had a big advantage playing at home,” Herrera said. “This field is where we play our best.”
Patterson celebrated Senior Night with its victory against Pacheco. Eight Tigers were honored at halftime: Roberto Sanchez, Benji Arroyo, Jose Guerrero, Carlos Arqueta, Ismael Contreras, Rogelio Mendosa, Gonzalez and Ramirez.
“When league season started, we started to believe in each other,” Hartsell said. “It just spread throughout the team.”
Earning home-field advantage was another important accomplishment for Patterson.
“We’ve got at least one more game on our home field,” Gonzalez said. “That’s part of what we have been playing for all season long.”
Patterson enters the playoffs riding a five-game winning streak, while celebrating its first league title since 2009.
That year, the Tigers won the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V crown by defeating the Hilmar High Yellowjackets, 3-1, at Alex G. Spanos Stadium in Stockton.
“Know matter what happens in playoffs, I know that the team will play its best,” Hartsell said. “I loved the effort (against Pacheco), and I can see that we want this really bad. We’re very focused right now.”
Mauricio Gallardo tallied three goals as the JV Tigers cruised to a 6-2 victory over the Pacheco Panthers.
Jordy Corral, Robert Rodriguez and Aaron Hernandez each also added scores for Patterson (6-4-2 WAC).
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or firstname.lastname@example.org.