STOCKTON – If at first you do not succeed, try and try again.
That is how Weston Ranch broke onto the board in the second half Saturday on the way to a 2-0 win for the Cougars over Livingston for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV soccer championship, and when the blue banner was presented at the Stagg High field after the game it represented the first-ever section championship for Weston Ranch.
Following a scoreless first half, neither team could find the net in the second half until the 67th minute when Kevin Medina centered the ball to Omar Centeno who got off a shot for the Cougars (24-2-3) that was blocked. Hector Maldonado powered the rebound into the upright and Centeno was there to get that rebound, booting the ball into the net for a 1-0 lead.
“That was a great center by Kevin Medina,” Centeno said. “Then I hit it, then Hector (Maldonado) hits it off the post, and then I got it and it went in.
“At that point I was thinking of the first section title in Weston Ranch history.”
That title was not secure until there was four minutes left in the game. Jose Espinoza had just come into the game when a long through ball got from Joseph Mayorca got past the Wolves defender and to Espinoza who got the ball into the net for the commanding 2-0 lead.
“I had just come in and I was waiting for the right play,” Espinoza said. “Joseph Mayorca got me the through ball and I saw the defender mess up and I took the chance, shot it and scored.”
Livingston (14-5-5) had a good opportunity to score late in the first half, but Weston Ranch goalie Eduardo Acosta shot out of the box and covered the ball before a shot could be made.
“I knew it was a one-on-one opportunity,” Acosta said. “I have been practicing on those and I had to get it because we couldn’t let them take the lead.”
As the game ended there was chatter on the bench of an ice-water bath for Cougars coach Francisco Cisneros, but Cisneros got the last laugh as he had a big grin when he reminded his team there was no water jugs on the bench.
“It was as advertised,” Cisneros said. “We knew they had a good defense and they made it tough. They were disciplined and stayed back.
“It was a great win. After all these years – 11years in the making – I hope this means that we are going to get a banner in basketball, football and all the other sports pretty soon.”