Not this time.
After going one-and-done in the 2014 Sac-Joaquin Section Division III soccer playoffs, East Union coach Victor Polanco was not about to let history repeat itself as his Lancers downed visiting Ceres 2-1 in opening-round playoff action at Dino Cunial Field.
“We were ready for this game,” Polanco said. “Last year we lost in the first game of the playoffs and I think we learned our lesson from that.
“The boys were mentally prepared for this game. We didn’t shoot a lot, but we controlled the ball in the middle.”
East Union (12-3-2) only took three shots on goal, but two of them found their way into the net.
The first Lancers goal came in the 33rd minute when Lino Cerda deftly headed the ball past the Bulldogs goalie off of a pinpoint corner kick from Jesus Hurtado for a 1-0 East Union lead.
“I saw that the corner kick was right straight to the middle,” Cerda said. “I just had to do the smart play, run up to the ball and score.
“We always play as a team and try to give it our all. And this is our year – we are going all out.”
The second East Union goal was not as precise as the first. Gerardo Romero launched a rocket from 20 yards out midway through the second half that went over the goalie and clanged off the crossbar, bouncing into the net for a 2-0 lead.
“The goalie had a wide stance,” Romero said. “So he was going to reach it if I put it to the sides so I decided to go up.”
Lancers goalie Trent Rivera Jr. had a busy night, fending off six shots on goal before Ceres (13-8-2) snuck one into the net in the final seconds.
Just prior to the second East Union goal, Ceres had the ball on a breakaway, drawing Rivera Jr. out of the net. Rivera zeroed in on the attacker, diverting him off course and keeping the ball in the field of play.
“I saw the ball coming and I came out and went for the ball,” Rivera Jr. said. “And I jumped on it and got it.
“I was trying to keep the shutout so we could advance in the playoffs.”
When Miguel Bozoco headed in the Bulldogs’ goal on an assist from Adrian Espinoza, it marked the first Ceres goal against the Lancers this season as in the teams’ first meeting this year East Union won, 6-0.
“Last time we played against East Union we were short on players,” Bulldogs coach Javier Mercado said. “This time we had a full squad and nobody was injured.
“It was very competitive. We had our chances and our opportunities but we could not get the ball inside the net.”