SELMA — The Selma boys soccer team finished the regular season being crowned Central Sequoia League champions after a 2-1 road victory over Dinuba on Feb. 7.
Not only did the Bears win a league title, but the team earned a first round bye in the California Interscholastic Federation Central Section Div. II playoffs. Selma will enter the postseason as No. 3 seed and will host either sixth-seeded Edison High School or 11th ranked Frontier High School.
Before the playoff bracket was announced on Feb. 9, Selma head coach Ruben Zamora was checking his phone throughout the day and was excited to see where his team was seeded.
“I was making sure that I knew who we were going to face,” Zamora said. “We were really working hard for this bye.”
Selma finished the regular season at 18-5-3 overall and 9-1 in CSL play. The win over Dinuba was significant since the game had several implications on the line including a higher playoff seed and a league title. Both teams entered the matchup with an 8-1 league record. The Bears sweeping the season series over the Emperors played a factor in Selma earning a higher seed. Dinuba will enter the CIF Central Section Div. II playoffs as the fourth seed.
Zamora said that game had a playoff atmosphere and wouldn’t be surprised if his team has to face the Emperors for a third time this season. He also alluded the two squads have developed a rivalry this year.
“I believe we might even face each other in the playoffs if we take out our opponents,” he said. “That felt like a playoff game [on Feb. 7], Imagine if we see them in playoffs, it’ll be really good. It’ll be really fun.”
Dinuba isn’t the only team the Bears would have to go through for a Valley championship. The top two seeds (No. 1 El Diamante and No. 2 Redwood) will provide a tough road game for Selma.
The El Diamante Miners are the top scoring team in the Central Section and fourth in the state with 105 goals. The Redwood Rangers have allowed the second lowest amount of goals in the division at 21.
Zamora said his players have the ability to compete with those teams.
“We have the players to do it. They just have to want it and they've got to push [themselves] hard,” he said. “I definitely think we can compete with them in scoring and all that.”
If the Bears want to reach the Valley Championship game, captains Jonathan Torres, Joel Ramirez and Christian Lamas will need to make an impact. All three players are seniors.
“I’m trying to keep the team focused to work hard,” Ramirez said, “so that we go prepared and in that case we don’t have anything to worry about.”
The senior said he’s excited the team is hosting a playoff game.
“I have a lot of people who support me,” Ramirez said. “I think it’ll be special to have them to come out here and motivate us and support us. [Hopefully] it gets us a bigger crowd since soccer games aren’t watched so much in high school, but that’s OK. As long as we win that’s good enough with me.”
Lamas, the team’s goalkeeper, said he thinks this Selma squad can make a deep playoff run.
“With this momentum we have, I feel like we could take it all the way,” Lamas said. “At the beginning of the season, we knew we were a good team, but we also know there were other good teams. We knew we had a better team because we [know how to] have more possession of the ball and control."
Selma will begin its postseason run at home on Thursday, Feb. 15 at 6 p.m.