WATSONVILLE—The Watsonville High boys’ soccer team was firing on all cylinders after five different players each recorded a goal in last week’s crushing victory over Soledad High.
Seniors Mateo Arias and Saul Valencia had a goal and an assist for the Wildcatz in their 5-0 win against the Aztecs in Pacific Coast Athletic League Gabilan Division play Jan. 19.
Watsonville had won two straight league games after dropping its opener against North Salinas, 1-0, on Jan. 11.
“I think we just focused a little bit more in practice,” Arias said. “We took it a little bit more seriously. Not that we didn’t, but that was like a wakeup call… it looks like we’re doing pretty good right now.”
Arias said they didn’t have to tell each other much after their loss to the Vikings and knew what needed to be fixed.
“Another day, another dollar. Let’s go,” he said.
Senior Torrecillas Cesar scored in the third minute that put the Wildcatz on the scoreboard first, giving them a 1-0 lead going into the half. They had plenty of chances to add more goals just before the break but they couldn’t capitalize on those scoring opportunities.
“We weren’t playing like we wanted to but in the second half we fixed it and kicked it in gear,” Arias said. “It was focusing on the stop and go, passing and switching the ball into the empty gaps. A lot more movement.”
Watsonville coach Roland Hedgpeth said the players have been able to connect with crisp passing that leads to shots on goal. But he felt like they left too many opportunities on the pitch during the first half against Soledad.
“In the second half, the connections went in and that’s what we’re working on,” Hedgpeth said. “We told them at halftime, ‘Hey, 1-0, we should do a lot better than that with the way we’ve been handling the ball.’ It came through.”
Arias also mentioned the high press worked for them, which allowed them to counterattack and score on the Aztecs.
Isaac Vargas added a goal in the 45th minute and Arias extended the lead, 3-0, with a thunderous shot in the 52nd.
Five minutes later, Valencia made it 4-0 and senior Jose Esteves capped off the scoring for Watsonville. Senior goalie Edgar Angel made two saves for the Wildcatz.
Arias scored twice for the Wildcatz to earn a 2-2 draw in their match against Alvarez High in Gabilan division play Jan. 21.
“We gotta play each game like it’s our last game and then build from there,” Hedgpeth said. “And if you do that then you’re prepared for the next game.”
Watsonville (7-4-3, 2-1-1) plays at unbeaten Alisal (7-0-2) on Tuesday at 5:45pm. The Trojans are ranked No. 3 in California and No. 16 in the nation by maxpreps.com.
“Every single game is like a final, honestly,” Arias said.
Aptos 3, Soquel 2: Johnny Arroyo scored twice for the Mariners in their win against the Knights in Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League action Jan. 20.
Arroyo scored in the 26th and 28th minutes. Fredys Abrego was credited with two assists.
Diego Tiran also scored for the Mariners, on an assist from Erik Hernández in the 22nd minute.
Goalie Ulises Hernandez had four saves for the Mariners (9-3-2, 4-1-1), who play at Harbor (5-1-0, 3-1-0) on Tuesday at 5pm.
Aptos 3, Scotts Valley 0: The Mariners scored three unanswered goals in the second half en route to a win against the Falcons in SCCAL play Jan. 18.
Patrick Mackle scored on a pass from Nate Dow in the 52nd minute, Fredys Abrego scored on a pass from Joey Mackle in the 57th minute, and Johnny Arroyo added a goal in the 68th minute.
Goalie Ulises Hernández made one save for the Mariners.
Aptos 1, Soquel 0: Jazmine Castañeda scored the game’s lone goal for the Mariners in their win against the Knights in the teams’ SCCAL match Jan. 20.
Castañeda, who scored in the 65th minute off a rebound, has 24 goals and 12 assists on the season.
Backup goalie Julianne Houser made three saves for Aptos (12-1-1, 3-1-1), which has outscored opponents 54-7 on the season.
The Mariners play at Harbor (5-5-2, 1-1-2) on Tuesday at 7pm.
Aptos 3, Scotts Valley 0: Jazmine Castañeda had a goal and two assists for the Mariners in their win against the Falcons in SCCAL play Jan. 18.
Gwen Chapman scored the opening goal in the 16th minute and Nelly Pintor Rubio made it 2-0 in the 33rd minute. Castañeda capped off the scoring in the 35th minute.
MVC 6, North Monterey County 0: Jana Komposch scored twice for the Mustangs in their win against the Condors in PCAL Mission division play Jan. 18.
Komposch scored in the fourth and 65th minutes. Goalie Alexa Malespina made three saves in the shutout.
Julia Reiland, Madison Winchester, Caroline Ollenburger and Amanda Pasag also scored for MVC (4-5-2, 1-1-0).
Pajaro Valley 4, King City 0: Valeria Acosta and Ashley Cadenas each had two goals and one assist in the Grizzlies’ win against the Mustangs in PCAL Cypress division play Jan. 21.
Karla Levya had two assists and Izabella Brandon made five saves for the Grizzlies (7-5-1, 3-1-0), who host Soledad on Tuesday at 5:45pm.
Coaches are encouraged to report scores and highlights to [email protected] following games. Please include your name and contact number in the email.