Central High soccer’s Olmos-Hernandez duo seem to share a sixth sense
Matthew Olmos and Pedro Hernandez don’t need to say a word to each other.
In their third season as teammates on the Central High boys soccer team, Olmos and Hernandez have developed a knack for knowing what the other is about to do.
Their undeniable bond was on display Friday at Koligian Stadium as Olmos fed Hernandez for two goals and Central — The Bee’s No. 1 team in the Central Section — defeated No. 6 Clovis West 4-2 to force a three-way tie atop the Tri-River Athletic Conference between the Grizzlies, Golden Eagles and Clovis North.
“Those two really do play off each other well,” Central coach Daren Pittman said. “They are both players who work extremely hard. There’s a lot of fight in them, and they chase down balls.”
The synergy between Olmos and Hernandez was at its best roughly 9 minutes into Friday’s game. Olmos — immediately reacting to a hand-ball penalty on Clovis West about 50 yards out — sent a pass straight down the center of the field at Hernandez before the rest of their teammates had a chance to react, with Hernandez delivering the goal.
“We practice that day in and day out,” Olmos said. “I saw it and went for it. It was a great shot by Pedro. We know how each other plays. It’s like we were born to play together.”
Their second connection put the Grizzlies (21-3, 5-2) ahead for good 12 minutes into the second half. Olmos sent a free kick from the left to right, where Hernandez was waiting to punch it in to make it 2-1.
“It’s just teamwork, the three years we’ve had together,” Hernandez said.
Olmos scored twice in the second half — the first on a laser shot into the low-left corner and the second on a penalty kick — to put Central ahead 4-1.
“We’re capable of doing big things,” Olmos said of a team that’s among the contenders for the No. 1 seed in the section Division I playoffs. “We’ve just got to stay humble.”
Clovis West (11-6-1, 5-2) got a goal from Jameson Ruppel in the final 2 minutes to go with Eddie Fernandes’ first-half goal.
By Nick Giannandrea