Downey boys soccer boots out Atwater

ATWATER -- Atwater High defender Fernando Madrigal put his hands on his face and fell to his back after missing a penalty kick in overtime against Downey High.

The Downey players were on the ground about five feet from Madrigal, but they were celebrating.

Downey goalie Diego Vera saved the third kick and Atwater missed two other kicks as Downey beat Atwater 3-1 on penalty kicks Thursday and advanced in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I Boys Soccer Tournament.

"I go into penalty kicks expecting them to score," Vera said. "If I save it, that's good on me. If I don't, good for them."

Vera was given practice for penalty kicks with just more than a minute left in the game with Downey, the No. 2 seed from the Modesto Metro Conference, up 1-0.

Atwater midfielder Julian Horta threw in a ball near the Downey corner to Edgar Pineda. Salvador Martinez held Pineda, giving Atwater a penalty kick.

Junior Jorge Carmona made the goal, getting Vera to dive in the wrong direction.

"That was a tough call for us," Downey coach Adrian Romero said.

After no real scoring threats in the two 10-minute overtimes, both teams were given five shots from 12 yards to score.

Martinez made up for the late foul by scoring Downey's first goal, with senior Rafael Murfin and sophomore Sam Bell making the second and third goals.

Atwater's Jesse Horta made the first kick, but Jose Rodriguez missed the next attempt, Vera saved Jose Hernandez's kick and Madrigal missed his attempt.

"There aren't many words to describe the shock right now," Atwater coach Jimmy Brewer said. "That was a nightmare for us, it really was."

Atwater, the No. 1 seed from the Central California Conference, dominated most of the game by keeping the ball on Downey's side of the field. Atwater had eight shots on goal in the first half with none going in.

Downey pressured the ball better in the second half and went ahead 1-0 about 10 minutes in.

Midfielder Nick Cash sent the ball into the box from the right side to Martinez, who stopped it and used his right foot to pound the ball inside the left post.

"First half, they had us," Romero said. "We got lucky they didn't score. The second half we came back and we knew we could do it."

Atwater finished the season with a 19-3-5 record.

Downey will play either West or Lincoln on Tuesday in the second round.


MMC CHAMPIONSHIP, at Modesto Fitness & Racquet Club -- It will be an all-Modesto High singles final.

Katie Eng and MacKenzie Cook each advanced with three straight-set wins Thursday and will battle at 10:30 Saturday morning at the Racquet Club. Eng defeated Beyer's Bianca Pallotta 6-1, 6-0 in the semis. Cook stopped Beyer's Sarah Whiteside 6-1, 6-2. The doubles final also is Saturday.

VALLEY OAK LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIPS, at Weston Ranch -- McKenzy Harden of Ceres defeated Carley Steichen of Sonora 6-4, 6-2 in the singles final. Harden, a sophomore, fought off a Steichen rally after taking a 5-1 lead in the first set, and improved her record to 33-0.

In the doubles final, Koko Ankrom-Rachel Shelton of Sonora defeated Carolyn Rowley-Ali Maddox of Oakdale, 6-4, 1-6, 6-2.

Bee staff contributed to this report.