It’s as if the Broncos never stopped playing.
Clovis North emerged from the TRAC boys soccer gauntlet as league champions last week and picked up right where they left off in their first round playoff game against Sunnyside Tuesday afternoon.
No. 3 seed Clovis North imposed their will on No.14 Sunnyside with opportunistic offense and dominant defense to knock out the Wildcats 3-1 in the Division-I boys soccer bracket. Junior Christian Silva and seniors Julio Moran and Raul Cantu each scored a goal for the Broncos.
Cameron Shahroki’s squad never looked under pressure to win after a successful regular season; if anything, they brought the feeling to their opponents Tuesday.
“Our guys pressured the ball really well and played stellar on defense,” Shahroki said. “On offense, we moved the ball pretty well also.”
Silva – the Broncos’ leading goal scorer this season with 32 – scored in the 10th minute to put Clovis North ahead. The early goal played a key role in pushing the 9-10-3 Wildcats out of their comfort zone.
“It’s important to score early in any playoff game, mainly to take nerves away,” Shahroki said. “When you play a team like Sunnyside that plays behind the ball with a defensive focus, it forces them to open up.”
Sunnyside had close scoring chances in the first half, but Clovis North’s back line held strong in defense and CSU Northridge-bound goalkeeper Cooper Wenzel saved a shot in the 25th minute.
Then, only a few minutes after halftime, came the backbreaker for Sunnyside.
Senior captain Julio Moran was left wide open to recover the rebound off a Broncos free kick. Moran capitalized and scored Clovis North’s second goal in the 45th minute.
Clovis North added another in the 70th minute when Raul Cantu slipped a shot into the net to increase the Broncos’ lead to 3-0.
Sunnyside converted a penalty pick in the final minutes, yet Clovis North’s second half surge fueled the Broncos to the Division-I quarterfinals, where they host Clovis High Thursday.
It’s an opponent Shahrokhi is all too familiar with.
“We played Clovis in two really good 1-0 games this season and they have a really good team,” Shahroki said. “It will be a great challenge.”