Johansen boys soccer coach Ryan White’s message for his team after its 4-0 win over Davis on Monday was simple:
“Wednesday against Beyer is our biggest game of the year,” he said.
The Vikings (15-1-4, 12-0-2) can clinch the Western Athletic Conference title with a win over the Patriots.
A title would be the school’s first since 2006 and only the third in Johansen history.
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The Vikings, who have outscored opponents 43-5 in WAC play this year, have come a long way from a 4-7-4 squad a year ago.
“Before the season, we had a lot of bonding time together so we got to know one another and the kids are fighting for themselves and their teammates,” White said.
The sixth-year coach and Johansen teacher said his team did icebreaker type activities in his social studies classroom in the fall to build chemistry.
White credits his two captains, seniors Alex Murillo and Alan Yepez, who have stepped up this year to keep the team together.
“They know what it feels like to lose and I think it has carried over and we don’t want that taste anymore,” White said.
Senior Alfonso Meija had two goals in the Vikings win over the Spartans on Monday.
“Last year was tough,” White said. “We had a lot of one-goal games and a lot of ties and we just couldn’t close games out. This year, those breaks tend to go our way.”
After Wednesday’s game, the Vikings will find out their playoff fate when brackets are announced on Friday.
Local schools plan National Signing Day ceremonies: Big Valley Christian and Central Catholic are two schools that will have National Signing Day ceremonies on Wednesday.
At Big Valley, Tyler Meyer (Cal State Stanislaus, baseball) and Kristin Dexter (Southeastern University, softball) will sign at 12:40 p.m. at the Lions Lair while at Central Catholic, Kyle Jacklich (Montana State University Northern, football), Adrian Cuevas (Marian University, football), and Jimmy Mootz (Pacific Lutheran University, football and volleyball) will sign at noon in the lobby of the Mark Gallo Health and Fitness Center.
Raiders senior running back Dawaiian McNeely also will sign at the event but with what school remains the mystery.
McNeely has offers from Arizona State, Colorado State, Fresno State, and Wyoming among others according to 247Sports.
Central Valley athletes Alexis Solis (baseball) and Jocelyn Lopez (soccer) will both sign with Stanislaus State at 3 p.m. in the school’s gym.
Pitman’s Alexia Caballero (soccer) will sign with Notre Dame de Namur at 3 p.m. in the school’s library on Friday.
CCAL girls basketball title comes down to rivalry game: The Central California Athletic League girls basketball title will be decided on Wednesday when Turlock (19-7, 8-1) hosts Pitman (16-9, 8-1) at 7:15 p.m. The Bulldogs won the first meeting 56-47 on Jan. 22 as senior Jaydon Williams led Turlock with 25 points.
Here is a list of athletes in Stanislaus County and neighboring areas who have reported being signed to four-year schools on athletic scholarships.