Many among the West High soccer team faithful felt that the Tri-City Athletic League opener, a 2-1 loss at home to Stagg, was an aberration. But with only nine games left in the league season, the 2006 CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division I finalists didn’t have much time to prove it.
Now, after going on a nine-game unbeaten streak to claim their second-straight Tri-City Athletic League title and a home playoff game Friday, cemented with a 4-2 win over the winless St. Mary’s Rams — and a 1-1 tie between Stagg (5-1-3 TCAL) and Tokay (4-1-5 TCAL) in Lodi — the Wolf Pack (6-1-3 TCAL) silenced any remaining doubters.
“We had to win, so we just came in thinking we were down by whatever, and had to get up by however many points,” said junior forward Jordan Flores, who erased an early 1-0 deficit with the first of his two goals. “Put another banner in the gym, you know? It feels good.”
After the Rams took a 1-0 lead in the second minute, Omid Poornasir pulled West level with a 25th-minute goal on a pass from Waleed Fayzi, and Flores created a 3-1 halftime lead with goals in the 30th and 35th minutes. Fayzi and Omar Valverde provided the assists.
Things got tense again late in the second half, after a ball deflected off one of the referees on its way past West goalie Jesus Parocua, but Poornasir rifled a shot from 30 yards out five minutes later to ice the win.
“The ref, he made a great pass on that one,” Parocua said.
The officiating crew handed out a slew of yellow cards for some chippy play from both sides, but the worst of it happened after the final whistle.
On his way off the field, a Rams player was handed a red card after aiming a profanity at one of the officials.
Rams coach Matt Kusanovich, whose team closed out the Tri-City Athletic League season at a winless 0-9-1, refused to comment.
The Rams last won a game in mid-September during non-league action. They won three games in 2006 league play after reaching the 2005 semifinals, where they lost
5-3 to eventual finalist Tracy.
The Wolf Pack will host San Joaquin Athletic Association No. 2 seed Lincoln on Friday.
Franklin 3, Tracy 0
The Tracy High boys soccer team saw its eight-game winning streak, its eight-game shutout streak and its season end under the Tom and Kathy Verner Field lights Friday in Stockton with a 3-0 loss to the league-champion Franklin Yellowjackets.
Tracy (10-4-1 San Joaquin Athletic Association) would have clinched its first trip to the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs since 2005, when the Bulldogs were finalists, with a win, thanks to a 2-2 tie earlier in the day between eliminated Lodi (7-7-1 SJAA) and Lincoln (11-3-1 SJAA).
Instead, Franklin (12-3 SJAA) won the title outright.
Senior goalkeeper Bobby Ebert set an as-yet unconfirmed school record with eight straight shutouts, as Tracy rebounded from a sub-.500 record during its first round of league games.