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ALL-AREA BOYS SOCCER; Falcons' goalkeeper Montoya named Player of the Year
RV senior allowed just one goal all season
2012-13 – Triston Montoya, River Valley
2011-12 – Armando Araujo, Live Oak
2010-11 – Hector Cibrian, Live Oak
2009-10 – Isaac Mora, Yuba City
2008-09 – Keenan Emmitt, Gridley
2007-08 – Luis Martinez/Moises Oseguera, Lindhurst
2006-07 – Lalo Paredes, Yuba City
2005-06 – Jorge Martinez, Gridley
2004-05 – Roberto Hernandez, Colusa
2003-04 – Tim Danna, Sutter
2002-03 – Luis Alejo, Live Oak
2001-02 – Robbie Handy, Marsyville
2000-01 – Ryan Ramos, Faith Christian
1999-00 – Ryan Ramos/Edgar Mendoza, Faith Christian
As he and his teammates coasted along I-5 to Stockton, Triston Montoya was convinced he was a part of a team of destiny.
On Nov. 10 of last year, River Valley High's senior goalkeeper walked on to the pitch at Lincoln High's Alex G. Spanos Stadium and knew nothing would get by him.
His Falcons had come too far and been through too much not to finish their historic run.
"On our way down there, I just kept thinking, there's no way we can lose," Montoya said. "I knew we would win that game."
Before that Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championship game against Central Valley of Ceres, the drama and intensity of the playoffs had already peaked for Montoya.
The Falcons' stalwart force at the net put together three straight shutout performances and outlasted the opposition in two consecutive 5-4 shootout victories.
Those two games provided him enough adrenaline to last the rest of his soccer career.
"Mentally, it was more challenging than anything," Montoya said. "I just had to do my job and I thought I could at least save one."
Montoya provided the big save any time his team needed it and closed his brilliant senior season with a 2-0 shutout as the Falcons' hoisted the school's first-ever section title.
He's the Appeal-Democrat's All-Area Player of the Year after allowing just one goal all season and no scores throughout the Falcons' four-game postseason run.
Montoya was also selected as the Tri-County Conference Defensive MVP and is headed to Chico State next year to play Division-II soccer for the Wildcats.
After nearly five months, Montoya still reflects on his team's historic feat.
"I've been thinking about it a lot and how it means a lot, not only for me and our team, but for the entire school," Montoya said. "We were the first team (at RV) to do this and that's pretty special."
Montoya was RV's keeper as a sophomore when coach Abel Franco promoted him to the varsity level.
That season, he helped lead the Falcons to a playoff berth and the school's second home playoff game in any sport.
In 2011 as a junior, he strictly played the competitive circuit with the highly-regarded Sacramento United club team, while also serving as the kicker for the Falcons' football team.
Montoya said his first season with the United helped him mature and become a leader his senior year when he returned to the Falcons. He was one of the team's three captains this year.
"I definitely missed playing with the (RV) guys a lot," Montoya said, "but (playing club) really helped my game and I grew tremendously."
This year, Montoya was reunited with his former youth teammate, All-Area defender Jesus Garcia. The two have played soccer together since age 11.
Montoya credited Garcia and the Falcons' defensive back line for making his job a lot easier this season. Garcia was never too worried if a ball got by him because of his trust in Montoya.
"He communicates with us really well," Garcia said. "He's really good at telling us where to be. I was never scared if anyone got by us because I knew Triston would block it."
Franco appreciated Montoya's great communication skills and said it was like having a second coach on the field.
"There's no word to describe Triston's performance this year except, 'Wow,'" Franco said. "What else can you say? It was amazing."
Montoya balanced a great campaign on the pitch with providing his services to the RV football team for the second straight year.
An A-D All-Area selection, Montoya nailed 32 PATs and five field goals. He has also been selected to play in the Lions All-Star Football Game for the South team.
Whether it's kicking field goals, or standing in goal for penalty kicks, Montoya doesn't feel pressure or anxiety in those tight situations. When the two games went to PKs during the playoffs, he was excited to get some action.
"You just have to stay relaxed," he said. "You're not expected to save it, so if you do, that's just a bonus."
Montoya admitted, he wasn't exactly sure his team would be a section champion when practice started in August.
By the time the first whistle blew for November's title game in Stockton, he was convinced the Falcons were a team of destiny.
"This was a group of good friends, who were close and loved playing together," Montoya said. "I'm going to miss that."
Freddi Terriquez, Sr., Marysville
The Indians improved by eight games in the win column this season and coach Steve Tennis credited Terriquez for that turnaround.
"He was the difference-maker this season," Tennis said. "Freddi was a force back there."
The All-Golden Empire League keeper recorded six shutouts and helped lift the Indians to their best season since 2006.
Franklin Tarke, Jr., Sutter
Sutter coach Tim Danna, the A-D's All-Area Player of the Year in 2003-04, labeled Tarke as the best defensive player to every come through the Huskies' program.
Tarke played every second in 12 matches before succumbing to a season-ending shoulder injury. In that time span, he was able to score four goals for the Huskies, but really shined as a one-on-one, shutdown defender.
"He has great instincts and an ability to read the game," Danna said. "If there is a player who could miss one third of the season and still make the All-Area squad, it's this kid."
Tarke was an All-Area pick as a sophomore last season, but did not play in enough games to qualify for All-Butte View League accolades.
"He was good last year, but great this year," Danna added.
David Gomez, Fr., Gridley
The Bulldogs' ninth-grade sensation was a finalist for the BVL Defensive MVP in just his first season on the pitch.
"Few players have stepped on to the Gridley High School soccer field and owned it from the very first day," said Gridley coach Jesse Barajas. "He's done just that."
Gomez made 186 steals on defense and was the anchor of a young Bulldogs back line. When asked to, Gomez also showed enough creativity to find the back of the net with six goals.
Barajas added that his sweeper is already getting looks from collegiate coaches.
"He plays bigger than his age and has blistering speed," Barajas said. "He's a natural-born soccer player."
Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, Sr., River Valley
Garcia was Montoya's insurance policy on the Falcons' back line.
The Falcons' senior sweeper was part of a unit that didn't allow a single goal during a run to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championship.
"He has great vision and great skills," Franco said. "He had a great ability to communicate with all of the players, but more importantly, had the vision to see the back line and know how to play the ball."
Garcia was a first team All-TCC selection.
Castulo Carvajal, Sr., River Valley
An All-Area selection for the second straight year, Carvajal was selected Offensive MVP of the TCC this season.
A dynamic playmaker in the midfield, Carvajal could do just about anything that was asked of him including scoring, passing and playing excellent defense.
"I don't think I've seen another pair of midfielders where both of the players work so well together," Franco said, referring to Carvajal's relationship with Melad Rahim. "They always controlled everything in the middle."
One of the Falcons' team captains, Carvajal was a four-year varsity starter, three-time All-TCC pick and is headed to Chico State with Montoya next year.
Melad Rahim, Sr., River Valley
The Falcons' dynamic duo wouldn't be complete without Rahim, who joins his buddy Carvajal on the All-Area squad.
Rahim was the perfect complement to Carvajal in the midfield with his speed and quickness. Many of Rahim's goals came off assists from Carvajal.
A fellow four-year starter and team captain, Rahim was named to the All-TCC squad for the second consecutive season. He's headed to UC Davis.
"They know the game so well and it shows," Franco said. "They just have great chemistry."
Edgar Diaz, Jr., Live Oak
A three-year varsity starter, Diaz was labeled the "all-around best player" on the Lions' team this season by coach Mike Owen.
Owen said Diaz did the "dirty work" this year by marking the opposition's top player and playing with a defensive mindset.
Diaz also flashed his brilliance offensively with nine goals and four assists, totaling 22 points.
He was selected as Live Oak's offensive MVP and the All-Sacramento Valley League's first team.
Cristian Serrano, Sr., Yuba City
The Honkers' captain and holding midfielder was a force for Sean Nelson's squad as he led the team to a playoff berth.
Serrano was the Honkers' first line of defense and held down any counter attack put up by the opposition.
"I've never seen a player with so much energy," Nelson said. "He can run around all day."
Nelson labeled Serrano a "defensive rock" that covered the pitch from sideline to sideline with outstanding vision. He was a first team All-TCC selection.
Sam Ithurburn, Sr., Faith Christian
The Lions' senior scored 17 goals, including three hat tricks, and added nine assists as he amassed a team-high 43 points.
Ithurburn was a first team All-Sacramento Metropolitan Athletic League selection and helped lead Faith to a share of the SMAL title.
Thomas Mehler, Sr., Marysville
Mehler is back on the All-Area squad for the second consecutive season.
The Indians' speedster again showed a knack for finding the back of the net as he recorded 15 goals this season along with six assists.
Marysville's captain was an All-GEL selection for the second straight year and regarded as one of the top strikers in the Mid-Valley.
Sal Vargas, Jr., Live Oak
A three-year varsity starter, Vargas led Live Oak with 15 goals this season and came through when it mattered most.
The first team All-SVL selection totaled three goals in the postseason, including the lone score in a 1-0 victory over Orland in the Northern Section championship game.
Colusa - Adrian Garcia, Gustavo Sanchez
Faith Christian - Joe Valrey, Sun Lee
Gridley – Ernesto Orozco, Alfredo Martinez
Lindhurst - Jorge Oseguera
Live Oak - Joel Cibrian, Ismael Esparza
New Life Christian - Kobe Bancroft
Pierce - Adolfo Ramirez, Victor Santillan
River Valley - Alfredo Hernandez, Jose Mendoza
Sutter - Collin Olmstead
Wheatland - Martin Elizalde
Williams - Alex Gomez
Yuba City - Victor Alcantar, Omar Gonzalez