Both Galt high schools advanced into the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV semifinals with victories on Thursday.
Galt shut out Dixon 3-0 at Walker Park, while Liberty Ranch took down Foothill 6-1 at the Hawks’ home stadium.
Galt co-coach Dane White said his team started out a little rusty after a two-week break — the final game of the season was forfeited by Union Mine due to snow conditions in El Dorado.
“You could tell tonight we were getting our feet under us,” White said. “I’m proud of the way our guys did. The midfield played exceptionally well. We put Dixon under a lot of pressure, and we played very cleanly tonight, so the good news is we have an immediate point of reference for practice over the next few days.”
Ramiro Ramirez scored two goals for the Warriors, Davian Marquez had a goal and an assist and Angel Lopez tallied one assist. Goalkeeper Maico Ortiz had no blocks — Galt’s midfield and defense prevented Dixon from putting any shots on target.
“I think our best games are ahead of us, I think we just needed to fire up tonight,” White said. “I think we’re going to see Natomas on Tuesday and really take it to them.”
Across town, Liberty Ranch opened the scoring within the first three minutes, and after Foothill evened the score in the 10th minute, the Hawks dominated possession the rest of the way, building a 3-1 lead at halftime.
Mason Ginni and Isaac Sandoval scored two goals each, with Anthony Chavez and Nate Gomez scored one each. Damion Ochoa tallied two assists, while Ginni, Blake Mackey and goalkeeper Eduardo Landin had one assist each (Landin’s came off a goal kick). Landin blocked three shots in goal.
“We controlled the game,” Liberty Ranch coach Andrew Fisher said. “We’ve been doing it all year. We’re been working on playing our game, which is a possession-based game, holding the ball and not letting them get it back.”
This is not the first time both Galt and Liberty Ranch have advanced this far — in 2015, when boys soccer was played in the fall, Galt defeated Liberty Ranch in penalty kicks in the section D-IV championship game.
The two Galt teams could be on a collision course once again, but No. 5 Natomas (18-3-1) and No. 2 Livingston (22-2-2) are formidable foes to get through first. Top-seeded Galt (20-1-1) will host Natomas, while No. 3 Liberty Ranch (22-2-0, both losses to Galt) will travel to Livingston.
Both games are scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday.
“We expect (Livingston) to be very competitive,” Fisher said. “I’m incredibly confident in my squad and the boys. I truly do feel we can beat anyone if we play our game. Our two losses, we’ve moved away from playing our style, and we’ve been punished for that.”