Denair boys soccer team wins playoff opener

Goliath Padilla scored twice in the first half – once on a penalty kick and the second time on a booming shot after eluding three defenders – to lead the top-seeded Denair boys soccer team to a 2-1 home victory over Woodland Christian on Friday night in the first round of in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division VI playoffs.

Denair (20-6-2) advances to play No. 5 Millennium (7-7-2) of Tracy, which defeated Waterford 5-0. The match is Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Jack Lytton Stadium.

The Coyotes are shooting for their third Section title in a row. Despite dominating the ball Friday, they couldn’t quite shake eighth-seeded Woodland Christian (6-8).  

“Our defense was really good,” praised Denair Coach Antonio Padilla. “They only had two shots the whole game and one went in.”

Manny Renteria, Nico Zavala and Octavio Balle keyed the Coyotes’ stingy defense, which was too much for Woodland’s offense. Balle left briefly late in first half with sore knee, but came back to finish the second half.

“He told me, ‘Coach, I’ll do whatever I need for the team,’ ” Padilla said.

Goliath Padilla – the son of the coach – and Denair’s offense controlled the ball for much of the game, keeping Woodland’s defense on its heels.

Padilla’s first goal came on a penalty kick in the first half after he was pushed from behind near the box. Woodland managed to tie the score at 1-1 at halftime, but Padilla came through again early in the second half with the winning goal. He dribbled through three Woodland defenders, then launched a missile past the goalie. It was his 35th goal of the season.

“He had a tough angle,” his father said. “It was a beautiful goal — very powerful past the goalkeeper.”

Denair threatened to expand its lead with multiple shots after that, but couldn’t find the net.

“We tried,” Antonio Padilla said. “Their keeper was good. It was just one of those days.”

Denair hopes to have another one of its top players, Diego Padilla, back for the match against Millennium. He has been out with a sore right quad.

The other Division VI semifinal has No. 2 Esparto (14-6-1) hosting No. 3 (11-9-1) on Tuesday. The championship match is Saturday at 2 p.m. at Cosumnes River College in Sacramento.

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