HANFORD — Hanford West rode a dominant first half to a 13-7 victory in the first round of the CIF Central Section Division III playoffs at Hanford West High School on Wednesday.
“It was a good start,” Hanford West coach Anthony Castellani said. “You never kind of know how your kids are going to show up, some of them it was their first playoff game, so it was good that they started off quick. Just got to keep that momentum going for the next three games.”
The No. 5 seed Huskies (18-8, 6-1 CSL) exploded on offense and scored 10 first-half goals. The match was tied 1-1 early on, but the Huskies quickly pulled away.
After Aidan Apgar opened the match with a goal, Thompson followed with two of the next three goals. Apgar scored a team-high four goals on Wednesday night followed by Thompson’s three goals.
Chase Waddell, Colin Rowe and Logan flemming extended the lead in the first quarter as the Huskies led 6-1.
“They were ready to go,” Castellani said. “They’ve been waiting for it for a while. They know it’s either one-and-done, so they’re going to go out hard.”
Hanford West added another four goals in the second quarter to put together a 9-0 run (extending from the first quarter) and led 10-1 at halftime. In the second, Austin Dunn scored from straightaway after the Huskies swung the ball around the perimeter, Apgar finished on a counter and Flemming scored around his man in the hole.
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The Huskies scored every way possible it seemed and the Stallions had no answer for their offensive onslaught.
“We didn’t know what to expect, so we just pushed as hard as we can,” Thompson said. “We ran our offense well and it just became successful for us.”
No. 12 seed Madera South opened the third quarter on a 4-0 run and slowly chipped away at the lead. They trailed 10-5 — the closest they had been since the first quarter — but a score from the left wing by Apgar and a 5-meter penalty by Thompson pushed the lead back to seven entering the fourth.
“I think we got a little cocky in the second half, but we pulled through on the defense,” Thompson said.
The Stallions opened the fourth with two goals, but Apgar’s final goal of the night on a man-up opportunity was more than enough to seal the game.
“We kind of laid off at the end of [the game], but it was still a good game,” Thompson said. “We liked it, our team pushed hard and we got the win.”
Hanford West advances to the quarterfinals and will face No. 4 seed Sierra (24-5, 12-0 NSL). Sierra was the undefeated league champions of the North Sequoia League and defeated No. 13 seed Sunnyside 17-1 in the first round.