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High school soccer: In its third season, Matilda Torres High captures Division V boys title

The Matilda Torres High girls delivered the first section title in soccer for the 4-year-old school with a 3-0 win over Orcutt Academy in the CIF Central Section Division V championship.

Saturday night, the Torres boys team made sure they held up their end with a close-fought 1-0 victory over Riverdale High for the Division V title.

Riverdale High defender Michael García trips Matilda Torres’ Ray Saldana during the CIF Central Section Division V championship at Madera South on Feb. 24, 2024. Torres won, 1-0. JUAN ESPARZA LOERA/jesparza@vidaenelvalle.com
Riverdale High defender Michael García trips Matilda Torres’ Ray Saldana during the CIF Central Section Division V championship at Madera South on Feb. 24, 2024. Torres won, 1-0. JUAN ESPARZA LOERA/jesparza@vidaenelvalle.com

“The pressure was on our team after the girls won Friday,” said second-year coach José Flores after his team improved to 14-4-1 (Three of those losses came at the hands of Division II Fresno High).

Flores didn’t relax much after Torres High players had trouble finishing their shots, either hitting the post or sailing over the bar.

“You need that one goal to get the win,” said Flores, who was doused by ice following the match on the Madera South High field.

Alfonso Palacios of Matilda Torres High tries to get past the defense of Riverdale High’s Brandon Espíritu during the CIF Central Section Division V championship at Madera South on Feb. 24, 2024. Torres won, 1-0. JUAN ESPARZA LOERA/jesparza@vidaenelvalle.com
Alfonso Palacios of Matilda Torres High tries to get past the defense of Riverdale High’s Brandon Espíritu during the CIF Central Section Division V championship at Madera South on Feb. 24, 2024. Torres won, 1-0. JUAN ESPARZA LOERA/jesparza@vidaenelvalle.com

Senior midfielder Jesse González delivered with a header to the far post off a pass from junior teammate Brandon Torres in the second half.

“I just hit it there because I saw the right side open,” said González. “I knew exactly where I wanted to go.”

González said it was a concern that Torres High couldn’t find the back of the net despite numerous chances.

“At the end of the day, we got a chance and we finished it and we won the match,” he said.

Flores hopes his team will do well in the regional playoffs, but he’s already looking to the future.

Riverdale High senior Felipe Mora fires the ball past Matilda Torres High defender Ángel Villagomez during the CIF Central Section Division V championship at Madera South on Feb. 24, 2024. Torres won, 1-0. JUAN ESPARZA LOERA/jesparza@vidaenelvalle.com
Riverdale High senior Felipe Mora fires the ball past Matilda Torres High defender Ángel Villagomez during the CIF Central Section Division V championship at Madera South on Feb. 24, 2024. Torres won, 1-0. JUAN ESPARZA LOERA/jesparza@vidaenelvalle.com

“Division IV. Division III. We want to build the best program in the area, and at least be able to compete against the Fresno and Clovis schools,” said Flores.

In its inaugural season, Torres High went 0-14-3. They finished second in the North Yosemite League, behind Fresno High. Now, they are section champions.

Riverdale, now 18-9-5, had another tough ending in the section finals. Last year, the Cowboys lost in the Division IV title match on penalty kicks to Lompoc.

The Matilda Torres High boys captured the CIF Central Section Division V title with a 1-0 win over Riverdale at Madera South on Feb. 24, 2024. JUAN ESPARZA LOERA/jesparza@vidaenelvalle.com
The Matilda Torres High boys captured the CIF Central Section Division V title with a 1-0 win over Riverdale at Madera South on Feb. 24, 2024. JUAN ESPARZA LOERA/jesparza@vidaenelvalle.com