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WAC title in sight for Lathrop
Galvez scores lone goal in 1st-place showdown with Grace Davis
Grace Davis-Lathrop boys soccer
Javier Galvez, left, begins to celebrate with teammates Joerge Garcia (3) and Javier Salazar (21) after scoring the lone goal in Lathrop’s thrilling 1-0 Western Athletic Conference win over Grace Davis. - photo by Wayne Thallander

Javier Galvez was a factor on both ends of the field for Lathrop on Wednesday.

The senior center back scored the only goal of a hard-earned 1-0 win over visiting Grace Davis in what was arguably the biggest game in program history to date. With four games left, Lathrop (6-1-3, 9-6-4 overall) is in position to make the playoffs and win the Western Athletic Conference championship, which would both be firsts for the team.

“We’re not satisfied with where we’re at,” Lathrop coach Alfredo Reynaga said. “We still have four games left. This game means a lot, but Lathrop is playing in meaningful games now. We had that discussion throughout the week — we have to take it one game at a time.”

In a rough-and-tumble affair, shot attempts were few and far between for these evenly-matched sides. In the 76th minute, Galvez could not resist the opportunity to fire away at a second ball outside the penalty box following Alan Hernandez’s free kick from midfield.

He wasn’t aware that Grace Davis goalkeeper Yurem Bonilla (two saves) was off the goal line as he took a swing on the first touch.

“I just had to shoot,” Galvez said. “I didn’t even look up. I took the shot and was hoping it would go in.”

Even without the goal, Galvez was already the Player of the Match in Reynaga’s eyes. Lathrop was minutes away from a second scoreless draw against Grace Davis, and the coach credited him for his work and leadership on the defensive third.

Sophomore goalie Josue Navarro had three saves in his fifth shutout in conference play.

“He’s been the anchor in the back,” Reynaga said. “Last year, we had a lot of goals given up and that was our Achilles’ heel. This year, I think we have the least amount of goals given up in the WAC. We have two freshmen and a junior, and you inject a Javier Galvez who knows how to command the back line. These boys are playing well back there, and with a heck of a keeper in Josue.

A tie would have been a fair result, all things considered. Both teams took 10 shots, three of them on goal for each. And each side had stretches of dominance in possession.

At the outset, it was Grace Davis on the front foot, controlling the pace with quick touches and passes. 

“They came and brought it from the get-go,” Reynaga said. “We knew we had to weather the storm. There was a time they had that momentum in parts of the game, but we have to withstand those storms and we have to be smart. At the beginning, they had a lot of pressure on us. It caught us by surprise and we should have expected it. Once we settled down, the confidence level of our players came up to where it normally is for them.”

Most shots attempts were not threatening and from long range. Navarro did have a big stop in the first half on Carlos Varela’s 1v1 try in the box, but both were hobbled after colliding.

Javier Salazar had Lathrop’s best opportunity before Galvez’s deciding goal, crushing a half volley in the 52nd minute that was deflected out by Bonilla.

For much of the second half and the later stages of the first half, the run of play was tilted in Lathrop’s favor.

“We’ve been looking to play a complete game, and this was one of the most complete games that we’ve played all year,” Reynaga said. “They played well, attacked the areas on the field that we needed to to be successful and I thought we kept a really good tempo in the game. They’re a really good team, man, credit to them.”



“Since my freshman year, I’ve seen this program grow and get better,” he said. “I think it’s only going to get better from this.”




Junior varsity

Lathrop 5, Grace Davis 0

Diego Alvarez fired a hat trick, while Jairo Ortega had two assists for Lathrop.

Luis Mora and Anthony Calderon each contributed a goal. Daniel Patino and Manuel Solorio both had an assist.