The Turlock High boys soccer team is one victory away from reaching the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-I Championship game, but first they had to get through Franklin of Stockton on Thursday, and they did it convincingly with a 4-0 shutout.
“It is exciting because anytime you make the playoffs you never know what is going to happen with good teams and having the homefield advantage is huge,” said Turlock head coach Doug Sperry. “Having the fans support us is huge and being able to have that give us extra confidence and we play well here.”
Turlock has yet to lose at home this year.
Their lone loss came at the hands of their crosstown foe and one of the final four teams remaining in the bracket after Thursday — Pitman.
Following the win, Turlock is currently ranked No. 12 in the state and No. 46 in the country.
There are 1,231 high school boys soccer teams in California.
The ‘Dogs overall record currently stands at 21-1-3. They have outscored their last two opponents, 9-1.
In eight of their last games, Turlock has scored three goals or more in seven of them.
“Again, when we play like that with intensity and with the talent we have, we are tough to beat,” said Sperry.
It took just 40 seconds and coach Sperry to grab his book for the game for Eduardo Garcia to notch the first of four goals for the Bulldogs in Thursday’s quarterfinal game.
Luke Redman notched his fifth goal in two games at the 12th minute to go up 2-0.
Isaiah Johnson of Turlock headed the team’s third goal in the 25th minute and they went up 3-0 at halftime.
Turlock put in their fourth goal with 17 minutes left in the game and the team held off to advance to the semifinal for the first time since the fall of 2012.
“We had our tough loss to Pitman and then started off in the first round of playoffs slow, came out and started playing better in the second half and scoring… we were back to playing how we can,” said Sperry. “We were full steam pretty much for most of the game, talking and clicking, everyone was moving and everyone was playing with the energy that we are so used to playing with.”
Turlock will host No. 4 Whitney in the semifinal game at 6 p.m. Tuesday.
“I am happier playing a tough team like that here at home at our stadium,” Sperry added. “It is better than having to drive two hours or so and play on a field we have never played on before and have unknown things. So, I think it is an advantage for us, we are excited.”