STOCKTON — The top two seeds in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III boys soccer playoffs escaped upset losses in their opening round wins Tuesday.
No. 1 Weston Ranch needed a last-second goal from Joseph Mayorca to force overtime lead the Cougars’ dramatic 6-2 victory over No. 16 Bethel of Vallejo. Valley Oak League rival and No. 2 seed Oakdale also won in overtime, nipping Mira Loma, 3-1.
“It took a miracle,” Weston Ranch coach Francisco Cisneros said. “Our season was practically over.”
His Cougars (22-4-2) aren’t done playing yet. Mayorca scored their first four goals, and his second was the last play of regulation. Alex Gonzalez set up Mayorca’s stunning equalizer with a header.
Weston Ranch failed to take advantage of its dominant play in the second half but finally broke through in the two overtime periods. Bryant Ortiz and Jose Espinoza netted the team’s final two goals.
“Extremely proud of these boys,” Cisneros said. “The boys played to the last second. Had they stopped the season would have ended right then and there, but they battled until the very end and get to advance to the next round.”
Bethel (6-4-3) tallied its goals in the first half and was ahead 2-1 at the break.
“Bethel is a good team and is really fast when countering,” Cisneros said. “They’re a lot better than we expected.”
Weston Ranch next hosts No. 8 River Valley (13-2-2) of Yuba City on Thursday.