Turlock High boys soccer is back in the semifinals for the first time since 2013, after defeating No. 14 Edison High in Thursday's Sac-Joaquin Section Division-I quarterfinal.
Marcus Decouto and Samuel Goana each scored a goal for Turlock and the Bulldogs allowed just one as they came away with the 2-1 win.
“I was honestly a little nervous. I didn't really let it get to me though, just came in confident cause I know we were better than them and just came out and showed them that we could play,” said Goana.
“We weren't nervous. We had seen them before and knew how they played; we just had to play the way we are capable of and it’s what we did,” said Decouto. “We matched the physicality of the game. Usually we like to play and not get it as much, but today we stuck with challenges and came out victorious.”
It took just 19 minutes for Turlock to get on the board, after Decouto received a perfectly placed through ball that allowed him to finish with a strike to the near corner of the net for the go ahead.
By the 38th minute, Edison found a crease off a set piece and tied the game heading into halftime at one all.
“You just kind of refocus with frustrated guys at halftime and we knew if we did that things would go well for us,” said Turlock head coach Doug Sperry. “I thought we came out really well, controlled the ball and pace. Some of the calls weren't going our way and I think we kind of lost our composure.”
That is when Edison found the back of the net, but the second half belonged to Turlock despite questionable calls by the officials.
The Bulldogs continued to play their style, which resulted in an up-tempo pace that led to multiple Decouto chances.
The draw was broken at the 55th minute when Decouto found Goana on the left corner for the pass that paved the way for a shot.
Goana continued to sprint down the byline, and the lefty drilled the ball to the far post in a nearly perfectly placed ball.
“Marcus passed me the ball and I opened up to my left and looked up and saw the keeper coming, so I hit it far post. Yeah, when I hit it, went straight through, I knew it was going in,” said Goana.
With the help of the consistent defense that has been strong all year, the Bulldogs managed to fend off Edison in the final seconds despite a free kick from just the top of the penalty area in the final seconds.
Turlock's wall blocked the shot and the final play was a header that cleared the ball away, paving the way for the final whistle.
“We played them before so I came in knowing it would be physical,” said Decouto. “Towards the end there wasn't much soccer, but I learned to keep my cool because I knew my team needed me on the field rather than the bench and I wanted to make it to the next round so it’s what we did.”
Turlock will next travel to No. 2 Jesuit with the semifinal scheduled to begin at a time yet to be determined on Tuesday.
“Obviously, Jesuit always has a very good team and a very good program,” Sperry added. “This group, for some odd reason, I don't think they really care for the seeds, which is a good thing, they have a ton of confidence and I think we will show up and play how we did all year. I like our chances.”