Fueled by a disappointing defeat that may cost the program its first league championship, Lathrop’s boys soccer team took it out on Ceres on the road Monday in a 5-1 blowout.
The Spartans (7-2-3, 11-7-4 overall) have momentarily regained the top spot in the Western Athletic Conference on points, but they’ve played one more game than Grace Davis (7-3-1), which has the easier closing stretch in the final week of the regular season.
Lathrop’s final two matches are at home but against teams — Mountain House (7-3-2) and Los Banos (5-5-2) — that are also in contention for one of the Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berths. Winning out would be enough to secure a first postseason appearance for the Spartans, but they need help for a chance at the title. Grace Davis plays Ceres (4-4-3, 6-9-4) twice and Johansen (2-6-3, 3-10-3) once.
Lathrop faced Johansen twice in span of eight days, handling the Vikings 4-0 in a make-up game on Jan. 21 before the head-scratching 2-1 setback last Friday. That loss came two days after the Spartans’ dramatic 1-0 win over Grace Davis that put them in the best position to take the crown.
Johansen ended their streak of eight games without a loss.
“They outplayed us, credit to them,” Lathrop coach Alfredo Reynaga said of Johansen. Ociel Mora scored the lone goal for the Spartans on a through ball from Alan Hernandez, tying it at 1-1. The Vikings went ahead for good on a direct kick.
“We didn’t show up and were making too many mental mistakes,” Reynaga added. “That set the tone for today. We hadn’t lost for a while, and the boys didn’t like that. Hopefully, this gets us on another streak.”
Lathrop was locked in for Ceres, jumping out to a 3-0 halftime lead. Mora scored twice, while Andres Garcia, Javier Galvez and Raymond Ordona added one goal apiece. Hernandez contributed two assists, while Eduardo Torres and Reyli Villalpando each had one.
“We took control right from the get-go,” Reynaga said. “I think the kids were upset from the outcome on Friday, because we slipped out of first place. Today was critical. They knew they had to take care of business and they did. I told them the playoffs started today.”
Lathrop hosts Mountain House on Wednesday starting at 4:30 p.m. The Spartans escaped Mountain House with a 4-3 victory the last time they squared off.
Ripon Christian 10, Mariposa 0
Hailey Henderson kicked off the scoring barrage with the first of her three goals just 36 seconds into the Southern Athletic League match at Mariposa (3-4-2, 3-6-2 overall).
Adding two goals each for the Knigighthts (8-0-2, 14-2-3) were Addison De Jong and Dayna Koolhaas. Kayla Coker, Anneke Dyt and Shelby Terra contributed one apiece. Chipping in with assists were Alanna Blanco with two, Eva Benedict, Maya De Jong, Postma, Dyt and Terra.
Lathrop 3, Los Banos 1
Elizabeth Enriquez Lopez recorded a brace, and Janeese Romo scred once in a game Lathrop (7-3-3, 10-9-3) needed to keep its postseason hopes alive.
The Spartans host Mountain House on Wednesday night for their regular-season finale. A win would push them ahead of Mountain House, but the Mustangs still have another game against Pacheco.
“Tonight, we came out to play,” Lathrop coach Diana Vevarez said. “We were moving the ball well and created multiple opportunities and capitalized on three. Great to see them continuing to grow as a team.”
Ripon Christian 58, Escalon 46
The visiting Knights (7-0 Trans-Valley League, 15-7 overall) struggled to start and trailed 24-19 against upset-minded Escalon (5-3, 15-9). Ripon Christian turned it the tide with a 21-0 run in the third quarter.
Eli Terpsma continued his current hot streak, finishing with 31 points. Jace Beidleman added 13 points, and Luke Crivello had eight.
JV boys soccer
Lathrop 3, Ceres 0
Juan Diego Morales played a role in every goal scored, scoring the first two before assisting Jairo Ortega.
JV girls soccer
Lathrop 3, Los Banos 0
Ariana Garcia struck for two goals, while Sarah Vivero pitched in one in the shutout for the Spartans (12-1 WAC, 15-4 overall).