BOYS SOCCER: Cougars Off to Strong Start

The Weston Ranch boys soccer team is off to a great start so far in the early 2021-2022 season. The Cougars have jumped out to a 4-0-1 record heading into this weekend’s tournament hosted by Pitman High School (Turlock).

The good start is not surprising. After all, coach Francisco Cisneros’s clubs have always been competitive and routinely finish at or near the top of the VOL. Weston Ranch soccer has won the Sections twice (2014 and 2015), been undefeated once (14-0 in 2014), and crowned VOL champions three times (2014, 2015, and 2020).

“We’ve had gutsy performances so far,” Cisneros said. “We’ve learned some lessons, too.”

The Cougars opened the season by defeating Venture Academy 4-1. They were down 1-0 after the first minute but came back to score four goals to seal the win.

“We got off to a nightmare start with the Venture Academy scoring in the opening minute, but I like how we responded,” Cisneros said. “No one panicked, and we played well after that.”

Next up was a 7-0 throttling of McNair High School. A game that saw the Cougars get goals from six different players and four assists from three different players.

The Cougars returned home to play Tokay and battled to a 3-3 tie with the Tigers.

“After a 3-0 lead, it was not the result we wanted. However, we learned more lessons today than in the previous two wins,” said Cisneros.

The Yellow Jackets of Franklin High School came to the campus, and the Cougars had their most challenging match of the season, eventually winning 1-0 on Armando Arriaza’s late-game goal.

“Jaime Arreola, Mauricio Morales, Cesar Juarez and Eleazar Nava played tough defense all game long.”

Rounding out the week was a trip down to Johansen High School of Modesto. The Cougars got goals from Cesar Juarez, Zinedine Valdez, and Sergio Garcia and won 3-1.

“It was another gutsy performance by the Cougars, and we found a way to get the three points,” Cisneros said. “It was a great team effort.”

In the five games, the Cougars have scored 18 goals. Alexis Chavez leads with four goals; Valdez and Garcia have three goals each. The Cougars have also assisted on 15 goals. Chavez leads with four assists, and Angel Zapata follows with three. Goalkeeping for the Cougars has been strong. Marcos Arriaza tends the net and has recorded two shutouts.

The Cougars are on the road today and tomorrow at the Turlock Sports Complex. They will play Patterson in the opening game of the Pitman Tournament and an opponent to be determined. Saturday’s games opponents will be determined after today’s first round.