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Falcons claim TCC title
RV picks up program's first banner
The three goals for the River Valley High soccer team were laid out by coach Abel Franco back when practice began in August.
No. 1 on the list was getting back to the playoffs for the third time in program history. In his first year in 2010, Franco took the Falcons to the Sac-Joaquin Section postseason before finishing at the bottom of the Tri-County Conference in 2011.
Following last year's disappointment, he said his team would be back — now they are.
With a 2-0 victory over Woodland at Falcon Stadium on Wednesday night, River Valley not only achieved that first goal of a playoff berth, but also goal No. 2 of winning the program's first TCC title in its seven-year existence.
Goal No. 3 lies ahead in the playoffs where the Falcons will shoot for the school's first Sac-Joaquin Section championship in any sport.
At 7-1-1 in TCC play, the Falcons accumulated 22 points in the standings. That clinches the title outright as a win by Pioneer (18 points) or Yuba City (14) would not be enough to catch River Valley.
The Falcons close the regular season at home on Monday against the Honkers.
"We said we were going to be back and we're back," Franco said. "It's something special for them. We had higher expectations this year."
The soccer team becomes the fifth boys varsity program to win a conference title after the cross country, swimming, golf and volleyball teams.
Clinching that banner got off to a good start on Wednesday as Christopher Zamora assisted Melad Rahim on the first goal of the game in the fifth minute.
Rahim juked the keeper and passed the ball to an open Zamora, who gave the ball right back to Rahim to put it in the goal.
It stayed 1-0 until the second half when Hector Ramos scored on an assist by Castulo Carvajal.
In the 65th minute, Carvajal dribbled the ball through a group of three Woodland defenders and dumped off a nifty, no-look pass to Ramos, who found the back of the net to extend the RV lead to 2-0.
"I've said it before, these guys make me look good," Franco said. "This group of young men is showing me a lot of character."
Franco received yet another outstanding effort from his defense led by Jesus Garcia and Jose Mendoza on the back line. Both goalkeepers Robert Quintero and Triston Montoya played a half each and performed well.
RV won't find out its playoff opponent until after the regular-season finale on Monday against Yuba City.
As they did in 2010, the Falcons will open at home in the 16-team bracket with first-round games scheduled to begin on Tuesday, Oct. 30.
Yuba City, Pioneer and Woodland will be battling for the final two spots the TCC is allotted for the postseason.