Boys Soccer Ready For Round One

As expected, the Weston Ranch boys soccer team made the Sac-Joaquin Division III Section tournament. The only thing unknown was where the Cougars would end up in the bracket.

Weston Ranch drew the number 4 seed and will take their first steps towards a Section title as they host the Pioneer High School Patriots of Woodland in tonight’s first-round game beginning at 6 pm in Cougar Stadium. The Cougars will bring their 11-1-6 overall record and their VOL title with them to face the 9-7-1 Patriots, the first-place team from Golden Empire League.

Coming off two big wins (1-0 against Oakdale and 2-0 over Sierra), the Cougars will look to take care of the pesky Patriots while eyeing a possible second-round game at home this Thursday. Other than their overall record and impressive league record (Pioneer finished 8-2), the Cougars will line up against the Patriots with limited information and will be expected to win as the Cougars are the higher seed. However, once tournaments begin, all records and accolades are put aside, and teams must win on the field.

“Our guys have had an outstanding season,” head coach Francisco Cisneros said. “Hopefully, we can continue with the same success in the playoffs. Pioneer is an excellent team that won their league as well, so we’re in a tight match up. If we play the way we’ve been playing the second half of the season, I’ll be happy with whatever the result is.”

Weston Ranch will take the field with the following knowns: They are tough to beat at home (WR is 5-1-4), they can score in bunches (average three goals per game and have scored 55 goals on the year), and they defend the net very well (have a goals-against-average of 1). They have, however, found it tough to score lately (8 goals in the last five games, including a 0-0 tie), and they must rely on defense and goalkeeping to keep them in front. Their final three games, all against the VOL leaders, found the Cougars winning, but struggling to find the net.

Seniors Elvin Bolanos, Bryan Rodriguez, and Kevin Urrutia Hernandez, along with sophomore Aaron Silva will be expected to direct the offense as usual. Bolanos leads the Cougars with 14 goals, while Rodriguez, Urrutia-Hernandez, and Silva tallied nine goals each for the year. All four will need to be on their game if the Cougars look to move on to play in Thursday’s game.

Senior Francisco Vega will be in goal for Weston Ranch, and his four saves a game average will be tested by Pioneer. Vega played in net 18 times for the Cougars and has totaled 75 saves, so if the offense isn’t rolling, he will need to stop the other team.

A victory tonight means Weston Ranch will play this Thursday again at home, and it puts them one step closer to securing their dream to be Section Champs. A loss means the season is over. Tonight is a time to meet expectations and conquer the unknown.

“We have a lot of experience; most of these guys have been a part of our program for a while,” Cisneros said. “They also have some experience from being in the playoffs the last few years. I hope we come out on the winning side because our group deserves it. It should be a good game”