Boys' PCAL soccer: Watsonville leads local teams in all-league first team selections

Watsonville junior forward Eric Vasquez sprints by a pair of Richmond defenders during their CIF NorCal Division II semifinal on Feb. 28. — Tony Nunez/Register-Pajaronian File Photo

Thirteen local soccer players earned all-league first team honors in the Pacific Coast Athletic League, the four-tiered league announced on Tuesday.

Gabilan division champion Watsonville led all local teams with four first team selections. Seniors Angel Luis Hernandez and Ricardo Alvarado and juniors Eric Vasquez and Julian Garcia earned a spot among the division’s best along with North Monterey County senior defender Anthony Valdivia.

Pajaro Valley sophomores Kevin Rincon and Guadalupe Medina secured spots on the Mission division’s first team. In the Cypress division, Monte Vista Christian senior Bob Chavez and junior Josh Hollingsworth made the first team. And Ceiba’s trio of seniors Diego Padilla, Abram Gonzalez, and Alberto Bernardino earned a first team selection in the Santa Lucia division as did St. Francis senior Cesar Sanchez.

Watsonville’s quartet of first team selections helped the Wildcatz win their first league title since the 2014-15 season. Hernandez paced the team in goals with 12, and Vasquez finished second with 11. Alvarado was arguably the top defender in the division, and one of the big reasons why Watsonville posted 12 shutouts en route to a 16-4-5 overall record. Garcia, meanwhile, was a revelation for the team at midfield in his first full year as a starter.

Watsonville was also a semifinalist in the Central Coast Section Open Division, and advanced to the CIF NorCal Division II championship game, but finished runner-up to Marin Academy.

Valdivia was a bright spot for the Condors this winter. N.M.C. finished the year with a 5-10-2 overall record, and took fifth in the PCAL-Gabilan.

Pajaro Valley struggled for large portions of the season — it finished 5-13-1 overall and placed fifth in the Mission division — but Rincon and Medina showed more than enough to be mentioned with the league’s best.

Chavez played all over the field for the upstart Mustangs, and Hollingsworth did much of the same, as M.V.C. finished the year with a 6-11-2 overall record and was in the CCS playoff hunt deep into the league season.

Padilla, Gonzalez and Bernardino guided the Spartans to a surprise runner-up finish in the Santa Lucia division and a 13-2-3 overall record in only their second year of varsity competition. According to the stats kept by MBayPreps, Padilla led the Monterey Bay Area in goals (37) and assists (20), and Gonzalez (13 goals, 16 assists) and Bernardino (8 goals, 6 assists) combined for 21 goals and 22 assists.

St. Francis took sixth in the Santa Lucia division, but Sanchez was a standout player for the Sharks, who completed the year with a 6-9-1 overall record.

Fourteen local players earned second team recognition: Jael Leal (Watsonville), Alexis Valenzuela (Watsonville), Noel Vega (Watsonville), Lombardo Flores (Watsonville), Jesus Aviles (N.M.C.), Francisco Diaz (Pajaro Valley), Alan Bedolla (Pajaro Valley), Logan Pluckhan (M.V.C.), Johnny Brinton (M.V.C.), A.J. Garza (M.V.C.), David Romo (Ceiba), Jesus Valdez (Ceiba), Adrian Muniz (Ceiba) and Devin McLeod (St. Francis).

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