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Soccer teams kick off season in right direction
THS soccer 2
Ty Hyer of the Turlock High boys soccer team makes a play in front of the goal on Thursday against Atwater High. The Bulldogs look to repeat last seasons success of making the playoffs. - photo by CHHUN SUN / The Journal

So far, the Turlock High boys soccer team has proven it can repeat last season’s success. Better yet, the Bulldogs might just surpass it.

Last season, they made the playoffs for the first time in seven years.

This season, they’re 12-0-1 overall and 3-0 in the Central California Conference before a big-time showdown against Golden Valley High on Tuesday night at Debely Stadium. In other words, they want to continue improving — and that’s a philosophy shared with other teams in the Turlock area, including Pitman High, Turlock Christian High, Hilmar High and Denair High.

“Last year showed us what it was going to take to be successful,” Turlock coach Doug Sperry said. “We know what we have to do and we have the talent and the drive to do it this year. Our goal is to win league and return to the playoffs.”

Some of the Turlock leaders include four-year varsity player Diego Godinez, three-year varsity starter Christian Madrigal and returning junior midfielder Jesse Madrigal. And this year’s group includes players who helped last season’s Turlock junior varsity team to a league title.

“We have very high expectations this year,” Sperry added. “We took a big step forward last year and made playoffs, but still felt like we could have done more. We have a lot of experience this year and the players are expecting to win.”

The same could be said for Pitman, which lists eight seniors on the roster. The captains are Ricardo Cholico, Adam Nascimento and Tommy Vieira, as they are coached by longtime coach Oscar Mercado. The Pride hope to improve from their 2010 campaign, in which they finished 0-9-3 in the CCC.

For Denair High, the Coyotes are trying to fill the big hole left after losing Paul Oei, who is now with the Cal State Stanislaus men’s soccer team along with former Turlock standout Josue Barajas. Some Denair fillers include goalkeeper Casey Clark defenders Quentin Allen, Ryan Casscia and Miguel Delgadillo, midfielders Jonathan Oei, Andrew Sweeten, Patrick Dudley, Carlso Suarez and strikers Taylor Brunelle and Juan De La Cruz.

“Losing a player like Paul (Oei),” Denair coach Daniel Romero said, “we knew this season other players would have to pick up the scoring. The team has picked up their intensity and everyone is chipping in on the scoring. Also, having players that have played travel ball has improved our team focus and passing.”

As for Hilmar, the Yellowjackets always find a way to win, especially under the guidance of longtime coach Louie Bettencourt. Hilmar is 1-1 in the Trans-Valley League before Tuesday’s home game against Riverbank High, but better believe the Yellowjackets have hopes of making the playoffs — again.

Hilmar finished 15-4-5 overall last season after suffering a heartbreaker against Capital Christian High of Sacramento in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoff opener. This season, the Yellowjackets opened league play with a 3-0 win over Ripon High.

To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.