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Eagles defeat Galt, win SVC, top seed in playoffs

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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If any team is ready for the postseason, it’s Vista del Lago.

The Eagles are coming off a great week where they upset Galt to win the Sierra Valley Conference and enter this week’s playoffs as the top-seed, while the Warriors dropped all the way to seventh in the eight-team bracket.

Vista opens the playoffs at 3 p.m. Thursday at home against Ceres. If Vista wins, it will play host to the Lincoln/Dixon winner Nov. 7. The section championship match will be held Nov. 10 at either Lincoln of Stockton or Cosumnes Oaks high schools. On the other side of the bracket, Placer is the tournament’s second seed, while Sierra is the third.

The Eagles have to win three more games to win their third-straight Division IV section championship, but coach Joe Esfandiary won’t let anyone think that far ahead.

“I’ve been saying it all year, we take it one game at a time and face challenges as they come,” Esfandiary said. “We’re carrying momentum into the playoffs and that’s a good thing for us right now.”

Vista finished the regular season with a 9-1-2 record in conference play and are 11-2-2 overall. In the critical match against the Warriors on Oct. 23, the Eagles dominated play on their home field and won 2-0 on goals by Alex Ford and Parker Boyea. When the teams met in Galt on Sept. 27, the Warriors came away with a 2-1 win. Esfandiary didn’t go into specifics, but said his team fixed what went wrong in the first game and this time came away with the win.

“With any loss, you analyze it and see what you did wrong and train and practice and then apply it next time you play,” Esfandiary said. “Obviously, last time we didn’t make any scores and this time we did. How did we win this time? We kept them from scoring and made some scores of our own.”

Esfandiary said the entire team played well, especially the defensive line, specifically central defenders Michael Le Page and Danny Jacobs.

Vista finished the regular season with a 6-1 win over Union Mine on Thursday. Matthew Raymond scored three goals, while Will Dubay, Brent Zavada and Cody Sherfy also found the back of the net.