Prep boys soccer: Bearcats blitz Tigers, win fifth straight match


There wasn’t a lot of room or space for Moises Sanchez-Hernandez to fit on the roster last spring.

Yet the W.F. West High School boys soccer team knew he was coming and in a hurry.

“He’s been, without question, one of the standouts on our JV (team) the last couple of seasons,” coach Allen Anderson said. “If he would have been with me, he wouldn’t have been getting very many minutes.”

The junior has provided a spark in what has turned out to be a stellar start for the Bearcats.

After not scoring a goal at the varsity level, Sanchez-Hernandez has three in two matches, two of them on Wednesday in a 4-0 triumph over arch rival Centralia in an Evergreen Conference contest.

“(I) feel more confident, much better and improved,” Sanchez-Hernandez said through interpreter and teammate Rafael Mendez. “Scoring goals on varsity is much better than JV.”

It marks W.F. West’s fifth straight win and back-to-back clean sheets. It has allowed three regulation goals since losing to Mountain View 4-0 in the season-opener three weeks ago.

The backline has fortified and even with the rotation of goalies Josh Madrigal and Cayden Page, there hasn’t been a drop-off in communication and execution.

“They’re getting a feel for each other,” Anderson said. “They’re stepping, dropping together. When one makes a mistake, there’s always one to pick up the pieces.”

Sanchez-Hernandez has felt the chemistry with this group continues to increase as the season goes on. He views it as the primary reason why he’s on a recent string of success.

The midfielder was in the right place at the right time in the 28th minute, nudging a pass from Uzi Lopez Cruz through the legs of Tigers’ goalie Alejandro Arevalo. Four minutes later, Sanchez-Hernandez stole an errant pass from Centralia, took a few dribbles and buried a shot from 20-plus yards for a 3-0 cushion.

“A new goal would be to score more goals, play better and improve overall,” Sanchez-Hernandez said.

“He’s just now finding his legs and becoming a bigger part of the team,” Anderson added. “The guys really trust him. He’s stepping up and doing excellent.”

For the first 20 minutes of the match, W.F. West (5-1, 4-0 EvCo) were a touch off on through balls and runs. Lopez Cruz broke the scoreless tie.

Taking on a swarm of Tigers defenders, the junior found enough space to slot a goal to the top left corner for a 1-0 lead.

“I absolutely love it,” Anderson said. “It just makes it exciting and fun.”

Centralia coach Noel Vazquez felt that the “floodgates opened” after that.

“Once they noticed they had control of the possession of the game, they played more confident,” he added.

Adrian Jaimes sent a rocket of a free kick in the 51st minute to the top right corner for the final goal of the night. The Bearcats outshot Centralia 13-5 and 11-2 in shots on target.

At one point, Anderson questioned if his squad was deep enough to get past the grueling stretch of six matches in 10 days.

Those questions have been answered.

“They have proven me wrong, completely,” Anderson said. “There is no let-off. I do a lot more interchanging with my players during the games than I think most teams traditionally do. We adapt really well to that.”

Even with the Tigers trailing, they changed formations in the second half and began to push the pace. There were more chances they created, but couldn’t convert with a giant hole to dig out of.

“I felt a lot more confident on the outcome of certain situations once the guys adjusted to the formation,” Vazquez said.