The first day of the CIF NorCal boys soccer playoffs delivered two victories over eight seeds, as the top seeds in the Division II and Division IV brackets were eliminated from competition.
A magical season for Gunn continued on Tuesday, as the eighth-seeded Titans ousted top seed Watsonville in the Division II bracket, 2-0. Just like during Gunn's CCS title game victory over Archbishop Mitty, James Hahn again delivered both goals for the Titans, who improved to 16-1-2 with the victory and will head to Redwood-Larkspur in the semifinals, after the five-seed Giants blanked Bella Vista-Fair Oaks on Tuesday, 1-0.
The bottom half of the Division II bracket went a bit more as planned, as three-seed Sanger defeated Central Valley-Ceres in penalty kicks and will now face two-seed Las Lomas, which used a second-half goal to beat Menlo-Atherton, 1-0. Las Lomas and Redwood faced each other for the NCS Division II title a week ago.
Division I roundup
The top three seeds all held serve, though top seed Jesuit-Carmichael faced a battle from De La Salle before prevailing, 2-1. The eight-seed Spartans led 1-0 at the half, but the Marauders got second-half goals from senior Lucas English and junior Elijah Beverley to pull out the win. Senior Julian Churchill helped create both goals.
Jesuit, which improved to 24-1-1, will now face five-seed Sacred Heart Prep, which rebounded from its loss to Bellarmine in the CCS Open title game by defeating Central-Fresno, 2-1. Liam Johnson gave the Gators a 1-0 lead at the half, but Central tied the game during the final 40 minutes, which set up Kevin Box's thrilling game-winner during stoppage time.
Two seed Montgomery had no such drama during its 6-0 win over Tokay, which was coming off an overtime loss to Jesuit. The Vikings will now face Bellarmine, which blanked NCS Division I runner-up Berkeley in its first-round game, 2-0. Seiji Matsuda continued his post-season success with a first-half goal on a penalty kick, giving him goals in every playoff game so far this year, while Jahan Seifollahi sealed the victory with his goal late in regulation.
Division III roundup
For the third straight time in the post-season, Harker survived in penalty kicks, this time out-shooting Galt 5-4 after the teams tied at one during regulation and overtime. The Eagles had previously defeated Saint Francis and Sequoia in similar fashion. Four-seed Harker will now face top seed Ygnacio Valley, which had a first-round bye.
Branham continued its stellar defensive play, continuing to blank post-season opponents, this time winning 2-0 over Albany. Sophomore Ian Hutt and senior Jack Cassell scored for the Bruins, who have not allowed a goal since Feb. 18. Branham will now face three-seed East Union-Manteca, who defeated Shasta in overtime, 2-1, getting goals from senior Noe Martinez and junior Cristian Perez. East Union was the Sac-Joaquin Division III champion, beating Galt in that title game.
Division IV roundup
Eight-seed Kennedy-Richmond handed top seed Summit Prep its first defeat of the season, 2-0, taking advantage of a pair of first-half goals to gain control. The Eagles played in the much tougher TCAL-Rock in the NCS during the regular season, and will now hope to use that experience as they face four-seed El Dorado-Placerville, who defeated one of Kennedy's league mates in the first round, beating Saint Mary's-Albany, 2-0.
The six and seven seeds both advanced in the bottom half of the bracket, as Cardinal Newman and Natomas will clash in the semifinals. Cardinal Newman went northeast and used three second-half goals to down Pleasant Valley-Chico, 4-3, while Natomas took out two-seed Mendota during its trip to the Central Valley. The Nighthawks trailed 2-0 at halftime before surging back with a trio of second-half goals.
Division V roundup
Five-seed Encina Prep was the only team outside the top four to advance to the semifinals. Encina Prep beat Corning, 2-1, and will face top seed Oakland Tech in the semifinals in a battle of the Bulldogs after Tech routed Dos Palos, 4-0.
Anderson blanked Colusa, 1-0, and Hilmar defeated Lowell on penalty kicks in the two other quarterfinal games.