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River Valley stays undefeated
Falcons edge Honkers 1-0
Jesus Garcia doesn't mind that his job isn't to put the soccer ball in the opponent's goal — he'd rather shut down an opposing striker anyway.
River Valley High's senior defender takes pride in shutting down the opposition. If the defense posts a shutout, that's just as good as a hat trick.
Anytime Yuba City came close to putting a shot on goal on Wednesday night at Honker Stadium, Garcia was there. He and his cohorts Jose Mendoza and Luis Santillan on the RV back line formed an impenetrable wall all night.
"Once we stop their forwards, we've done our job," Garcia said. "Now, the offense just has to put it in."
Alfredo Hernandez took care of that part.
The Falcons' striker scored in the 9th minute with a line drive shot that was just out of the reach of Yuba City goalkeeper Victor Alcantar and RV held on for the remaining 71 minutes for a 1-0 Tri-County Conference win over their rival.
The win over the Honkers is River Valley's third in program history and first since a 2-0 victory in 2010. RV also beat Yuba City 2-1 in 2007.
River Valley (7-0-1, 4-0-1) is in first place through the first cycle of TCC play. The Falcons were in this same spot in 2010, coach Abel Franco's first season, and ended up finishing in second after going 1-3-1 in the second half of TCC play.
"That's not going to happen this time," Franco said. "This season is different. We have a more complete team, more chemistry and they understand each other."
That was evident with the RV defense, which held off six shots from Yuba City's offense in the second half.
River Valley senior goalkeeper Triston Montoya made a couple of outstanding saves to keep the shutout intact. His play coupled with the RV back line made it hard for the Honkers (6-4-3, 3-2) to find the back of the net.
Apart from Hernandez's goal early in the match, Yuba City's defense was superb as well and kept the Falcons' senior tandem of Castulo Carvajal and Melad Rahim in check.
Yuba City coach Sean Nelson said, in a game like Wednesday's, one mistake early can make or break the entire match. Nelson lost 19 seniors from last season's TCC championship squad which went undefeated in conference play.
"Hopefully these guys mature within the next few weeks here so we can make a run and make the playoffs," Nelson said. "The biggest thing when you get a new group of kids like this is building that team chemistry. It takes time."
River Valley is in sole possession of first place in the TCC, while Yuba City is bunched up with Pioneer and Woodland in the standings. The Sac-Joaquin Section will take three teams from the TCC for the postseason.
Yuba City and River Valley will meet again on Oct. 22 at Falcon Stadium to close out conference play.
"Two years ago, they thought beating Yuba City meant the season was over," Franco said. "Tonight, they know it just means we have one more game. Our first goal is to win this league, and after that, fight for the section."
River Valley and Yuba City tied 2-2 in the junior varsity match.
Adrian Manriquez and Angel Lopez both scored goals for River Valley. Josh Contreras and Juan Lomeli each found the back of the net for Yuba City.
Yuba City is 2-1-2 in TCC play. No record was provided for River Valley.
CONTACT Jimmy Graben at firstname.lastname@example.org or 749-4791. Find him on Facebook at advarsitysports.com or on Twitter at @ADjgraben