Kyle Vizzolini said it was the easiest goal of his life.
Trailing 1-0 in overtime, Coalinga sent all 11 players into Central Valley Christian territory in hopes of tying the game in the final seconds.
Instead, CVC’s Caleb Danielson made a long pass to Vizzolini, who ran about 40 yards with the soccer ball and softly placed it into the open goal to lift the No. 6-seeded Cavaliers to a 2-0 Central Section Division V playoff win over No. 11 Coalinga on Wednesday night in Visalia.
“It was so much fun making that run,” Vizzolini said. “You feel like the whole season, all the work you put in, was paying off in that run right there.”
The win was four year’s in the making for the Cavaliers, who hadn’t won a postseason game since Feb. 20, 2009.
“This was huge,” Vizzolini said. “I’ve played my freshman and sophomore years on varsity and we never had a real good team. This year, we put it all together. Hopefully we can do something with it.”
CVC improved to 12-10-1 on the season and will play at No. 3 Cesar Chavez on Friday.
The Cavaliers lost to the Titans 3-1 earlier in the season at the Garces Tournament.
But coach Kurt Saltzman said he is confident in his team going into the quarterfinal matchup.
“Our team has matured so much since early on in the year,” Saltzman said. “The last two or three weeks we have played very good soccer. We like our chances going forward.”
It wasn’t easy getting to the quarterfinals.
CVC and Coalinga were tied 0-0 at the end of regulation in a game that was going back and forth.
The Horned Toads pressured CVC in the first four minutes of overtime, but all that changed when the Cavaliers finally struck for the go-ahead goal.
Ben Martin made a cross to the middle of the penalty area and when the Coalinga goalkeeper couldn’t hang on to the ball, Vizzolini was in the right position for another open-goal score.
The Cavaliers didn’t slow down. They led 1-0 in overtime, but didn’t settle. They kept attacking and kept putting the pressure on Coalinga the rest of the way.
“We knew coming in they would be a tough team,” Saltzman said. “They were in our league last year and we knew what kind of team they would produce. We were ready. We couldn’t put the ball in the net early, then they came back at us. It was a back and forth game.”
In the end, it was the size and strength of CVC’s players that wore down the Horned Toads.
When asked what the difference has been with this CVC team from those in the past, Vizzolini attributed the team’s style of play.
“We’re a physical team,” he said. “A lot of it is we’re a bunch of friends and we trust each other. We get going and push on even when things get hard.”
Things aren’t going to get any easier as the Cavaliers eye their first Central Section title since 2007.