The Kimball High boys soccer team opened Valley Oak League play on Monday at home, taking a 2-0 loss to Sierra High.

The Jaguars were supposed to start VOL play on Monday at Weston Ranch High, but the weather forced cancellation of that game. On Wednesday the Jaguars and Sierra Timberwolves played through a cold wind with rain falling on the field at Don Nicholson Stadium for much of the game.

Sierra (6-1-1, 1-0-0 VOL) scored within the first five minutes and kept the pressure on the Kimball goal for most of the first half. The Jaguars Kimball (2-2-1, 0-1-0 VOL) created some scoring opportunities later in the half, with junior Biaghi Favela, senior Justus Lassiter and senior Ethan Mcghee attacking the goal, only to find it well-defended by Sierra players who were quick to get into position.

Favela, sophomore Jeremy Miller and sophomore Zhubin Wahidi continued to pressure the Sierra goal early in the second half. Junior Francisco Baltazar also initiated attacks on the Sierra goal, which turned out to be well protected, prohibiting the Jaguars from taking many shots.

“They’re a tough team. They’re a really solid team. They’ve got a good group of kids there,” said Kimball coach Bryce Lassiter. “We had our chances. We probably had six or seven chances and just didn’t finish. It could easily have been us up a couple goals.”

The Kimball defense also held up well under Sierra’s offensive attacks. The Timberwolves got one more goal in the final minutes on a pass to the middle and a quick shot from the left side.

Lassiter said the Jaguars look like they’re in for a promising season this year with an experienced backfield and younger midfielders who can move the ball well through their opponents.

“I think we’re going to be a solid team for sure this year. We’ve got a good group.”

Tracy 3, Bear Creek 0

The Tracy High boys soccer team got its first win of the year with a 3-0 victory over Bear Creek High on Monday at Tracy High.

The Bulldogs (1-2-1) begin the season with a new coach, Michael Aguilera, though he is not new to coaching. Aguilera, a 1993 graduate of Tracy High, has also coached at West High and at Pacific Grove High and has club experience on his resume as well. He said the team appears ready for a new start.

“So, I think they’re excited. I’m a licensed trainer outside of club and they know that,” he said. “I think they’re excited to have somebody new, another person that they can understand the language that we’re all speaking and pretty much be on the same page.”

He said that the first part of the season is all about players getting accustomed to his style and to each other.

“They’re getting used to playing in the system that we’re working on, but I think as each game has progressed, we’ve gotten better as a group, both on the JV and varsity side,” he said. “Varsity has a lot of potential. We just need to work together a little bit more, learn how we play, and they need to learn the system that we’re trying to play as a group.”

Aguilera added that enthusiasm for the program is high as players return to a regular season after a year of COVID-19 restrictions, noting that he had 24 players interested in soccer when he first announced the season, and that number quickly grew to 71 by the time practices started.

For their first win of the season the Bulldogs and Bear Creek Bruins played through a cold rain storm in Wayne Schneider Stadium, with the Bulldogs putting up offensive pressure for most of the match, consistently outshooting Bear Creek with 12 shots on goal compared to three for the Bruins. The Bear Creek goalie blocked eight shots and the Bruin defense blocked another, and Tracy senior goalkeeper Aiden Terry blocked all three of the Bruins’ shots on goal.

Tracy scored its first goal 18 minutes into the first half after junior Alan Garcia brought the ball up the right side. The Bear Creek defense moved into position, but a series of quick passes in front of the goal, with senior Rayyan Saiyed making the pass to senior Pedro Ontivaros, who made the shot from the right side.

“I was in the right spot at the right time. Good anticipation and I took a shot, and it went in,” Ontiveros said.

“We kept the energy high the whole game, and we just kept going and going,” he added. “It’s a step up from previous games. I’m just excited for what’s to come.”

He said it’s still too early in the season to think about the challenges of Tri-City Athletic League play, and the Bulldogs are still in the part of the season where they’re finding each other’s strengths.

“I’m just focused right now with the team,” he said. “We’ve gotta focus on practice.”

Tracy scored again seven minutes later when Saiyed charged down the field on a breakaway, got the ball to junior Imran Ghafar, who passed to junior Ricardo Ventura, who was in position to make the shot right front of the goal.

Tracy kept up the pressure through the rest of the first half and into the second half. In the 46th minute senior Kyle Wright made a one-touch shot on a pass from Onteveros into the right side of the goal to put Tracy up 3-0.

Kimball 2, Millennium 1

The Kimball boys soccer team (2-1-1) won its match on Dec. 9 against the Millennium Falcons with a score of 2-1. The Jaguars held a 1-0 lead at the half and both teams scored in the second half.

Sophomore s Jeremy Miller and Trey Lassiter scored for the Jaguars, and senior Tomaso Gianuzzi scored for the Falcons.

Millennium won the junior varsity game 4-1.

• Contact Bob Brownne at brownne@tracypress.com, or call 209-830-4227.

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