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Race for TVL heats up after Hilmars 6-1 win over MH
Hilmar Boys Soccer 1
Hilmars Michael Cardoso (No. 7, middle) celebrates with his team after scoring his third goal of the match in Mondays 6-1 win over Mountain House. - photo by EDDIE RUIZ / The Journal

The Hilmar High boys soccer team started the second half of league on a high note. It took less than 10 minutes for Hilmar to set the tone on Monday night against Mountain House, on their way to earning a statement 6-1 win.

“Our kids worked today; it was kind of one of those days where things fell our way a little bit,” said Hilmar head coach Louie Bettencourt. “But I tell them we need to put pressure because if we do that then people start to break down and you take advantage of those and we had some great shots today.”

“I was happy with the outcome we had today and hopefully we can keep doing what we do. But it’s not always about me, it’s about the team,” said Hilmar captain Michael Cardoso, who finished with a hat-trick.

Cardoso, alongside sophomore and co-captain Bryan Milan, proved to be the catalyst for the match after both combined for five goals.  

“I think we finally got it in our heads that we need to play how we are used to and we have to know that playing league is a different story, but we learned from preseason obviously,” said Milan.

Milan was coming off a four-goal performance in their previous win and picked up where he left off.

The sophomore was one of the most key players on the pitch, consistently attacking the MH defense with his quickness and agility.

It was Milan and Cardoso who created over 10 opportunities for the game.

Cardoso put his team on the board first after receiving a cross from Vincent Moran just eight minutes into the game, and powered a header through the opposing goalkeeper to go up 1-0.

Exactly one minute later, Milan put his first of two goals in after a one-on-one with the keeper allowed him to drill the far side.

Freshman Miguel Padilla, who was a stalwart for the game, scored his lone goal of the game for Hilmar at about the 20-minute mark to put his team up 3-0.

MH scored their only goal of the game eight minutes later to make it 3-1, then the Hilmar defense stepped up and didn’t allow any other opportunities until the final whistle.

Hilmar never relinquished the lead for the remainder of the game after they went up 4-1 at the half once Cardoso scored his second goal on a free-kick goal from 24 yards out.

The ball curved in from the top post as the defenders and goalkeeper for Mountain House watched the ball hit the back of the net as time expired for the half.

“We created our own luck as well, especially that free kick goal," said Bettencourt. “Bryan and especially Michael today were on a roll, making everything and hustling as well. Things really went both their ways. They work hard and I tell them is what they put into it.”

Cardoso completed his hat-trick just four minutes into the second half after pressing in the opening minutes.

Milan scored the final goal of the game with less than one minute remaining in regulation as the Yellowjackets secured their fifth league win. Milan has now scored six goals in the last two games.

“It’s always about adjusting and working off each other, but they played great today,” Bettencourt added.

Freshmen Padilla and Justin Barros also made a statement after the center backs played arguably one of the best games of the season along with goalkeeper Ethan Aiken, who stepped up with over half a dozen saves, including multiple one-handed saves.

Hilmar remains second in league as they now improve to 5-2 in the TVL and 8-9-1 overall. Escalon remains perfect in the TVL after Monday at 7-0.

Hilmar has also won four of the last league games. During that span, Hilmar has finished two clean sheets and outscored its opponents, 25-8. In their last four wins, Hilmar has outscored its opponents 24-4.

Hilmar’s next game will be on the road at Hughson at 3:30 p.m. today.