The Turlock varsity boys’ soccer season came to an end on Tuesday after traveling on the road to take on No. 2 Jesuit High in the Division-I Sac-Joaquin Section semifinal.
Although the Bulldogs came in as the No. 11 seed, they matched up very well with the second seeded team, despite a handful of miscues that unfortunately led to a pair of Jesuit goals and the 2-0 victory that ended the year for Turlock.
“Playing on the road is always going to be a disadvantage especially coming to a place like Jesuit where they are really tough to beat at home,” said Turlock head coach Doug Sperry. Jesuit played well and it wasn't one of our better games unfortunately we picked the wrong day to do it.”
Coming in to the game, the Bulldogs had won two straight prior to Tuesday's loss.
The condition of the field also played a role in the match.
“Not sure what the deal was with this field,” said Sperry. “Guys were on ice skates out here, it was hard for a lot of guys to get any footing or get any momentum or rhythm as well. The field was so slick I am not really sure what this stuff is or what is going on with it.”
Over a dozen players from both teams slipped after just 30 minutes on the pitch. The number jumped to 30 altogether for the entire game and included falls from both goalkeepers after a goal kick.
“It didn't make things any easier,” said Sperry.
The first third of the opening half was a game played within the middle of the field as both sides were looking to find a groove.
Turlock was held to just one opportunity in the first half while Jesuit was able to draw multiple fouls and caught a break with under two minutes remaining till halftime. Jesuit scored off a set piece that eventually went in and gave them a 1-0 lead.
Less than one minute after, Jesuit found the far side of the post wide open and slammed in the second and final goal just as the half ended.
“I think we came out a little nervous. I don't know if it was nerves or adjusting to the field a little timid and we knew Jesuit would come out and play hard and physical,” said Sperry. “There was a quick burst where we let down and Jesuit got the opportunity and capitalized on it and that was the difference in the game.”
The second half was a barrage of defensive plays while multiple players continued to slip with the slick pitch.
Turlock nearly scored on three chances created in the final 10 minutes but Jesuits' keeper made all the saves.
“They are a very talented soccer team which makes it even harder. Every single guy knows we can beat Jesuit, it just didn't happen today,” said Sperry.
Turlock caps off the season at 17-7-2, including a Central California Conference title and reached the semifinals for the first time since 2013.
“It’s been a long season with the weather, change of season, injuries and all kinds of things and our guys have handled it incredibly well,” Sperry added. “We are all very proud of every single guy on the team.”