The girls portion of the Harold S. Young Soccer Tournament represented more than a pair of firsts for finalists Madera South and Clovis East.
It provided evidence of a shift in the balance of power among the Central Section’s elite girls’ high school soccer teams.
The Division II Stallions became the first Madera school to win the Harold S. Young with a victory on penalty kicks over the Timberwolves, who were making their first trip to the final of the 40th annual tournament on Saturday at Buchanan.
“It was really important for us to accomplish it,” Madera South coach Ramon Delgadillo said. “We came to enjoy it and get experience against really tough teams. I never thought we would win it, but things just started going our way.”
Madera South, the defending D-II section champion, opened with a 3-0 victory over Tri-River Athletic Conference school Clovis. The Stallions (4-1) topped Golden West 1-0 in the quarterfinals and Redwood 2-0 in the semifinals.
After we beat Clovis, the girls starting saying, ‘Hey coach, we can go on a run in this tournament.’ It opened the door for them to believe we can accomplish something.
Madera South coach Ramon Delgadillo
Sophia Zertuche gave Madera South a 1-0 lead over Clovis East in the final before Catalin Villegas tied it for the Timberwolves in the final minute.
The Stallions then outshot Clovis East 4-1 on penalty kicks, with Maria Leal, Zertuche, Jasmine Garibay and Itcel Rodriguez converting.
“After we beat Clovis, the girls starting saying, ‘Hey coach, we can go on a run in this tournament,’ ” Delgadillo said. “It opened the door for them to believe we can accomplish something.”
Clovis East (4-1) has long been a bottom feeder in the Tri-River Athletic Conference, home to section powers Buchanan – the four-time defending section champion – Clovis North and Central. The Timberwolves, who feature a pair of Fresno Pacific recruits in Peyton Kwalwasser and Mia Castillo, and a potential recruit, Nikki Crouch – who also stars in track and field in the pole vault – began to turn the corner last season, when they went 8-10-4, played TRAC opponents tough and won a first-round D-I playoff game.
“It’s taken awhile to build the culture of winning,” said eighth-year Clovis East coach Jasara Gillette. “Now the girls believe they can win, which is one of the biggest keys to success.”
No. 1 Madera South and No. 2 Clovis East, which made up half of the Harold S. Young final four that also included Redwood and Central, now top The Bee’s section girls soccer rankings.
Two-time defending D-I champion Buchanan solidified its hold on the top spot in the boys rankings with a 2-1 victory over No. 2 Central in the Elite Division final at the Harold S. Young. JT Arruda scored the game-winner with 15 minutes left after Stephan Morris scored the equalizer in the 33rd minute.
Edison won the Premier Division boys title with a 2-1 victory over Independence.
CENTRAL SECTION SOCCER RANKINGS
Records through Dec. 5
- 1. Buchanan (5-0-0)
- 2. Central (2-1-1)
- 3. South (4-1-1)
- 4. Clovis North (1-0-3)
- 5. Edison (4-0-0)
- 6. Liberty-Bakersfield (2-1-1)
- 7. Golden Valley (2-1-2)
- 8. Bullard (2-1-1)
- 9. Clovis (4-1-0)
- 10. Reedley (3-2-0)
- 11. Independence (5-1-0)
- 12. Tulare (5-0-0)
- 13. Golden West (3-1-0)
- 14. Clovis West (1-0-1)
- 15. Orosi (3-0-0)
- 1. Madera South (4-1-0)
- 2. Clovis East (4-1-0)
- 3. Central (2-1-1)
- 4. Clovis North (3-1-0)
- 5. Redwood (3-1-0)
- 5. Buchanan (3-1-1)
- 6. Bullard (2-1-0)
- 8. Frontier (3-1-0)
- 9. Clovis West (5-0-1)
- 10. Liberty-Bakersfield (2-0-3)
- 11. Madera (3-2-0)
- 12. Clovis (3-2-0)
- 13. Edison (2-1-1)
- 14. Central Valley Christian (0-0-0)
- 15. Liberty-Madera Ranchos (1-0-0)