Octavio Murillo threw his arms out wide, gliding like an airplane through Golden Valley's badly beaten defense. His wingmates weren't far behind, joining the celebration.
Yes, the Merced High boys soccer team reached new heights Wednesday, and Murillo, the smooth left-footed sophomore with the wispy hair, was Captain Cool.
Murillo scored two goals, including the winner with three minutes remaining, to lift Merced to a thrilling 2-1 victory.
"This feels good," Murillo said as a standing-room-only crowd of about 500 spilled onto the field. "I didn't think it would be this tough -- not this early (in the season). I was a little worried, but that's why I knew I had to put that one in."
The win pulled Merced (2-0-1) within two points of Central California Conference leaders Golden Valley (3-1) and Pitman (3-1).
DELHI 7, DENAIR 0, at Denair -- The Hawks (4-2-1, 3-0 SL) scored six goals in the second half of their victory over the Coyotes (0-3 SL).
Le GRAND 5, TURLOCK CHR. 0, at Le Grand -- Tony Rodriguez scored twice, and Oscar Garcia had a big game as the Bulldogs (2-2-1, 2-0-1 SL) beat the Eagles (0-3 SL).
WATERFORD 3, MARIPOSA 3, at Waterford -- Jason Buskeness scored first for the Grizzlies (3-6-2, 1-1-1 SL) in what would be a back-and-forth match, and he scored his third goal with eight minutes left to give Mariposa a tie with the Wildcats (8-4-1, 1-1-1).
ESCALON 4, MODESTO CHR. 1, at Escalon -- Lance Reece scored the first goal on a header off a corner kick in the 12th minute, and the Cougars (3-1 TVL) took a 3-1 halftime lead over the Crusaders (1-3).
TURLOCK 3, BUHACH COLONY 2, at Turlock -- Hector Cervantes scored with about seven minutes left to give the Bulldogs (2-1-1) a win over the Thunder.
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DENAIR 3, DELHI 0, at Denair -- Janay Bankston had another huge match with 18 kills, six aces and three blocks as the Coyotes (8-5-1, 1-2 SL) swept the Hawks (0-3 SL) 25-21, 25-13, 25-11. Bankston is one of six seniors on Denair's team.
ORESTIMBA 3, GUSTINE 1, at Orestimba -- Junior Carlee Felber tied the school record for career assists with 940 to lead the Warriors (8-2, 3-1 WAC) to a 25-12, 25-14, 25-15 sweep of the Redskins (1-3 WAC). Felber shares the record with Marlene Sousa, who set it in 2006. Felber had 22 assists in the win.
CENTRAL CATHOLIC 192, PATTERSON 228, at Dryden -- Sophomore Meghan Crumm shot a career-best 51, senior Brittany Storer had a 49 for her second-best round, and the Raiders (7-0 VFL) shot their season low to beat the Tigers (4-3).
LIVINGSTON 250, HILMAR 261, at Rancho Del Rey -- Stacey Rouse shot a season-best 55 to help the Wolves (4-3 WAC) beat the Yellowjackets (3-4).