The Delhi High School soccer team is still alive and kicking after a CIF decision Wednesday gave the Hawks a chance to advance in the Division 6 Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.
An official's error in Tuesday's game at Vacaville Christian caused an incorrect sequence of penalty kicks, which resulted in an apparent Vacaville Christian victory.
Since the winner of that game advances to play today at Capital Christian, the CIF's solution was to send both teams to Capital Christian, where the penalty kick session will be replayed in its entirety, this time according to the rules.
The penalty kicks will begin at 4 p.m. and the winner will stick around to play Capital Christian at 5 p.m. in the section semifinals.
"In reality, we have to beat Vacaville twice to go to the next round," said coach Carlos Meza.
Tuesday, tied 1-1 in regulation, both teams connected on four of five shots in the first session of penalty kicks.
In such cases, national high school rules mandate an alternating shot sudden death series of penalty kicks to decide the winner, but game officials insisted both teams needed to go through a complete five-kick round.
Vacaville Christian won the second round 4-3, and the Delhi team returned home thinking its season was over. But since this was a game management error by officials, and not an errant judgment call, the CIF was able to correct the mistake.
"I was kind of hoping for the other coach to say, 'Yeh, we were wrong; take it.' But we'll do what we have to do," said Meza.
The penalty kick winner will be the lone non-Golden Empire League team standing in the final four. The GEL's Capital Christian, Lindhurst and Encina all rolled in the first round, outscoring opponents 11-2.
Golden Valley also stands alone in its quest for a section title as the only non-league champion still playing. The Cougars, who finished second to Merced in the Central California Conference, meet Delta Valley Conference champ Davis (Yolo) at 7 p.m. at Stockton's Lincoln High. The other semifinal will be played at Folsom between San Joaquin Athletic Association champ Franklin and Delta River League champ Jesuit. Davis and Jesuit have rolled their first two opponents — Davis by a 6-0 margin and Jesuit by a 12-0 span.
An all-Ceres section title game is possible, but neither Ceres nor Central Valley will have an easy go in today's semifinals. Valley Oak League runner-up Ceres gets a second playoff home game and will battle VOL rival Sierra at 3 p.m.
The Bulldogs won both meetings with the Timberwolves during the regular season, 3-1 win on Sept. 24 in Manteca and 1-0 on Oct. 22 in Ceres. Ceres beat Whitney of Rocklin 4-1 Tuesday night in the first round of the playoffs to set up the match against Sierra.
VOL champion Central Valley earned the right to go on the road for the second round, to face El Dorado of Placerville. El Dorado is the champion of the Pioneer Valley League.
The Division 4 title game will be played at Folsom High, Saturday at noon.
Patterson and Hilmar, the top two teams in the Western Athletic Conference, both will be on the road for today's semifinal round. Patterson will visit Trans-Valley League champion Riverbank, while Hilmar will drive into the Gold Country to play at Mother Lode League champion Bret Harte.
Today's survivors will meet for the section crown Saturday at Noon at Stockton's Lincoln High.
Both Stanislaus District entries survived first-round games and will be road teams in today's second round. Mountain Valley League champion Tioga of Groveland will travel to Tracy to meet Millennium, while MVL runner-up ROP/Sierra Ridge of San Andreas will play at Elliot Christian of Lodi.
The Division 7 championship game will be played at 10 a.m. Saturday at Folsom.
Reach staff writer Brian VanderBeek at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2300.