CUPERTINO — The Watsonville offense exploded for three second-half goals in the Wildcatz's 3-0 over Menlo-Atherton in the Homestead Christmas Cup Gold division championship, Saturday in Cupertino.
Sophomore forward Jael Leal got the scoring started in the 62nd minute, junior midfielder Eric Vasquez added the second score five minutes later on a beautiful weaving drive and Angel Luis Hernandez scored the final goal in the 78th.
Senior defender Ricardo Alvarado was named the tournament's Most Valuable Player after helping the team secure its third shutout of the early season.
Watsonville captain Ricardo Alvarado talks about the Wildcatz’s 3-0 win over Menlo-Atherton and the hot start to the season. pic.twitter.com/qBMIUaQv5I— Tony Nunez (@Tony_Nunez) December 16, 2018
Watsonville improved to 4-0-1 on the season with the win.
The Wildcatz will continue their preseason on Wednesday at home against rival Bellarmine at 7:30 p.m.
Saturday's game was a rematch of the teams' earlier meeting in pool play of the tournament which ended in a 1-1 tie.
Watsonville and Menlo-Atherton advanced from pool play on goal deferential, edging San Benito by a pair of goals.
Watsonville midfielder Julian Garcia talks about the Wildcatz’s strong start and the expectations pushed upon them this winter. pic.twitter.com/TyxbFv8TBP— Tony Nunez (@Tony_Nunez) December 16, 2018
Smaller than it has been in recent memory, Watsonville was bullied plenty by the bigger, taller and stronger Menlo-Atherton players, but the Wildcatz made up for the size discrepancy with their precision passing and speed in the center of the field.
Watsonville had a trio of scoring opportunities in the first half, but was unable to find the back of the net until the closing minutes of the second half.
Alvarado's long assist to Leal sparked Watsonville's offense, and the Wildcatz rolled through the final 15 minutes to another dominant victory. They've outscored their opponents 14-2 over their first five games.