The successful run by the Hilmar High boys soccer team ended at the CIF Northern California Division-V Championship game on Saturday from Oakland Tech after the Yellowjackets fell in a 2-0 shutout to finish as runners-up.
“I am happy with what we did…I told them to empty the tank and they did in the first half, then maybe we did a little too much and we were a little too tired,” said Hilmar head coach Louie Bettencourt. “I hate to say the refs made the outcome of this game, but I think if a couple calls our way certainly could change the game, a little disappointed in that, but very happy and proud of my boys and how they fought.”
They did fight, for as long as they could, especially against a school that over tripled the size of Hilmar and is usually competing at the Division-I level with an enrollment of 2,031 students.
Hilmar has between 600 and 700 students and is a D-VI school on enrollment size alone.
In the CIF state seeding, none of that matters. The results of the seeding are based on the best matchups.
No. 52 Oakland Tech came in having lost just twice in 14 games, now 15 games played.
Hilmar is ranked No. 141 in the state and close out the season with an overall record of 20-7.
The first half of Saturday’s game saw Oakland Tech control possession close to 80 percent of the time.
Oakland Tech continued to play the ball back and tried to force Hilmar to move out of position and attack and press.
Hilmar struggled to keep up to speed with the game as multiple attempts happened by the 20-minute mark, which included three corner kicks by Oakland Tech.
At the 27th minute, Hilmar’s Jose Guerrero, who scored his 100th career goal against Anderson High in the semifinal, saw a golden opportunity slip away after he beat out the final defender following a long pass from Randy Lozano that saw him go into the penalty box untouched.
Guerrero only had the goalie to beat and he shot to the far side and the ball carried wide right.
Guerrero saw another chance just before the half after a Vincent Moran pass on the attacking third that saw him go near the by line and drill a shot to the side of the net.
The halftime score read, 0-0.
“I cringe when that miss by Jose happened. I thought here we go, we are going to put it away, but it just went a little wide, and it happens, just the way the ball bounces sometimes,” said Bettencourt.
Guerrero saw his final opportunity about three minutes into the second half, when he drilled a shot that bounced off the goalkeeper’s hands, but he saved the ricochet and no second chance was attempted on the loose ball.
Then, about five minutes later, Oakland Tech got their first of two goals after a miscue on the defensive side that saw a one on one situation.
Hilmar continued to play as hard they could, but their press led to an interesting counter that was also a mistake and by the 76th, Oakland Tech notched their second goal to end it 2-0.
“Little disappointing because I thought that the first half was 0-0, but we played hard and tough, just didn’t get a couple calls our way,” said Bettencourt. “We had two guys at least in the penalty area fouled, and we did not get any fouls.”
Hilmar closes out the year as the Division-V Sac-Joaquin Section Champions and the CIF State Northern California runners-up.