Patterson High (6-3-2 WAC), sitting in third place in the league following a pair of victories the previous week, drew one of the toughest opponents in the league for its home finale: Central Catholic High of Modesto (9-0-1), the first-place squad in the WAC.
The result left the home team and coach Cade Tomasegovich encouraged, if not entirely satisfied.
“The effort was there today, especially from our seniors,” Tomasegovich said. “The focus of our pregame talk was to let the seniors know that this is their last game (at Patterson Community Stadium). They really gave it all they had.”
The tie — in conjunction with a 10-0 shutout of Los Banos High on April 16 in Patterson and a 3-0 victory at Ceres High on Thursday, April 18 — created some breathing room for the Tigers at third place in the WAC. Central Valley High of Ceres is in fourth place with a 4-4-1 record with one match left in the regular season.
The top three teams in the league qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs.
“If this game is indicative of how we are going to play for the remainder of the season, then I’m cool with that,” Tomasegovich said of Tuesday’s match. “I’m proud of how we finished this game.”
A late goal by Patterson senior Claudia Barron gave the Tigers a tie with the Central Catholic Raiders, who entered Tuesday’s match riding an eight-game winning streak.
In the 80th minute of a tense affair between the WAC rivals, the goal by Barron made sure her classmates didn’t walk off with a loss in their final game under the lights at Patterson Community Stadium.
Twelve Tiger seniors were applauded before the match: Barron, Bernice Ayala, Gracie Bradley, Andrea Garcia, Melanie Martinez, Chanda Noynola, Shantel Perez, Natalie Rios, Rebekah Ruiz, Cristina Tinoco, Eliana Varela and Karina Villafana.
“It’s Central Catholic, so this is a huge game for us regardless of senior night,” Barron said. “But this is our last home game, and we wanted to go out and show them what we are about.”
In the 10th minute, Patterson’s attack broke through.
Barron took a long pass from Tinoco, beat Central Catholic defenders into an open space and booted the ball toward the goal from the top of the penalty area. Raiders keeper Caitlyn Duval got a glove on Barron’s shot to deflect it, but Varela was there to tap the rebound into an open goal.
An inadvertent whistle blown by one of the referees as an oversight and without a call to make gave Central Catholic a direct kick with about four minutes remaining in the first half, though there appeared to be no foul on the play.
Taylor Osnaya took advantage of the opportunity, invigorating the Raiders with a rocket to the back of the net that tied the score at 1-1 heading into halftime.
In the 42nd minute, Varela controlled the ball superbly with her right foot before calmly slotting it between a pair of Central Catholic defenders and to Barron, whose left-footed roller trickled beyond Duval and put the home team back in front.
The Raiders instigated a second scoring drive down the center of the box with about 13 minutes left in the second half. A hard, high, right-footed shot by Lauren Nicholson floated in over the Patterson goalkeeper, Ayala and evened the score at 2-2.
Neither team showed any lack of energy during the game’s late stages, but Central Catholic scored the go-ahead goal with less than three minutes to play.
A Raider forward got behind Patterson defenders and booted the ball to the back of the net.
In the waning seconds of the match, however, Barron put the Tigers back on the scoreboard.
On the run after taking a pass from Varela, and with her momentum carrying her to the left, Barron rifled a left-footed, cross-body shot past Duval from about 10 yards out, giving the Tigers a tie.
“Right now, our whole mindset is attacking and winning,” Barron said. “We have the team to go far in the postseason. But we have to put the effort in to see results.”
Patterson concludes the WAC season at 4 p.m. Tuesday, April 30, at Pacheco High of Los Banos.
The JV Tigers (6-1 WAC) attacked the visiting team on both ends of the pitch Tuesday, April 23, and avenged their March 21 loss with a 6-1 victory against the Central Catholic Raiders.
Paulina Gonzales scored three goals and contributed an assist, while Julia Sill tallied two goals and an assist for Patterson. Cinthia Cantero scored a goal and made two assists, and Sofia Pepe had one assist.
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or email@example.com.