Pepe Serrano has lost count of how many times he's stood in the identical spot, about 25 yards from the goal, just waiting for a corner kick to ricochet to him.
"You always want someone up top, in case the ball takes a weird bounce," Modesto High's center midfielder said. "This is the first time this year that's happened."
The timing couldn't have been better for Modesto, as Serrano's goal in the final minutes Thursday salvaged a 2-2 draw with Johansen in a Modesto Metro Conference soccer showdown.
The day began with Johansen in first place with 10 points, and Downey and Modesto tied for second with nine. Downey beat Beyer 3-1, taking advantage of the draw to move into first place.
Downey (4-1, 12 points), Johansen (3-0-2, 11) and Modesto (3-1-1, 10) play each other twice more in the triple round-robin schedule.
"I think we'll see good games any time the three of us play because we're balanced," Johansen assistant coach Daniel Maez said. "We beat Downey 1-0 Tuesday in a game a lot like this one."
Johansen looked to be headed to victory again, taking a 2-0 halftime lead. T.J. VanderVeen cut the deficit to 2-1 early in the second half, then Serrano tied it.
The sophomore watched as the corner kick landed in front of a crowd at the goal. A flurry of kicks sent the ball toward Serrano, then he sent a 6-foot high liner past a fullback and the goalie for his first goal of the season.
"I met the ball as it came to me and just kept it low. I didn't want it going over the top," he said.
That was part of a furious final 20 minutes that featured multiple shots on goal by both teams.
"It was full throttle toward the end," said Modesto coach Matt Mendes, whose Panthers have a 1-0 loss to Downey. "I think a lot of our games will be that way."
LIVINGSTON 1, PATTERSON 1, at Livingston -- The Wolves (2-0-2) got another big game from goalkeeper Alonzo Lara -- he had 12 saves -- and a goal in the first minute by Enrique Sanchez in the draw with the Tigers. Patterson's Rodrigo Saldana scored with five minutes left in the first half to equalize. Saldana has 26 goals this season, he leads the Sac-Joaquin Section.
ORESTIMBA 5, GUSTINE 3, at Newman -- In an intense game between WAC rivals, the Warriors (1-3) got two goals in the final 15 minutes for the victory. Orestimba goalie Julio Cuevas stopped a penalty kick with 15 minutes left in the game; it was tied 3-3 at that time.
OAKDALE 12, CENTRAL VALLEY 3, at Oakdale -- The Mustangs (7-0 VOL) rolled to victory over the Hawks, remaining atop the VOL standings. Oakdale coach Judy Vejar said her doubles teams of Tienery Siedel and Tiana Teague, and Korinna Baxter and Kristin Mello, have been "really strong" this season.
"Both teams have done extremely well," Vejar said.
BEYER 3, ENOCHS 1, at Beyer -- Kaycee Martinez had 25 kills and Chantel Martin served for 24 points as the Patriots (3-1) rumbled to a 25-19, 23-25, 25-16, 25-20 victory over the Eagles (2-2).
Casara Collins and Samantha Bergstrom each had seven kills to lead Enochs.
MODESTO 3, DAVIS 0, at Davis -- Heather Sinclair pounded nine kills and Kaitlyn Klein had 15 assists as the Panthers (15-4, 4-0 MMC) maintained their perch atop the MMC standings with a 25-19, 25-10, 25-15 victory over the Spartans (4-4, 2-2).
Boys Water Polo
MODESTO 12, BEYER 1, at Modesto -- Chris Gallardo scored seven goals and Andrew Walczak added three as the Panthers (6-3, 4-0) nearly shut out the Patriots.
Girls Water Polo
MODESTO 9, BEYER 4, at Modesto -- Panthers goalkeeper Jackie Bobson had 20 saves, helping Modesto (8-2, 4-0) to the victory over the Patriots (2-2 MMC). Erica Austin scored four goals to lead the Panthers, while Elie Byrd added three. Sakara Seng led Modesto with four assists.