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Rivera’s backheel goal highlights East Union’s crosstown victory

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Manteca’s Avigail Mayen and East Union’s Meghan Wallace battle for possession of the ball

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin/

POSTED April 4, 2014 12:45 a.m.

A perfect pass to Isela Rivera near the 6-yard box is automatic.

Same goes for the not-so-perfect ones, apparently.

Her two highlight-reel goals catapulted East Union to a 3-1victory at Manteca on Thursday and helped the Lancers keep their perfect record intact midway through their Valley Oak League schedule.

With Manteca (3-1-1 VOL, 10-2-1 overall) holding its own defensively in the early going, Rivera finally broke through with a header off freshman Jenna Zuniga’s well-placed corner-kick cross in the 20th minute.

Her go-ahead goal in the opening minute of the second half was even more impressive.

Isabella Rivera, one of Isela’s two younger sisters on the squad, slipped as she delivered a free kick into the penalty box. Isela played it off the bounce and backheeled it to the lower-left corner of the net.

“I just react to it,” said Rivera, who has routinely these types of goals in her four years at East Union. “I know my sister is going to get the ball to where I need it to be. As soon as I saw that bounce my first reaction was to heel it. When I saw it go in I was shocked, but it gave us the lead and that’s what we wanted.”

Isabella Rivera assisted Marissa King’s insurance goal in the 69th minute.

Leah Manuleleua is credited for Manteca’s lone goal, which tied the score in the first half. The ball deflected off the top of an East Union defender’s head on the shot, and it floated over the reach of goalie Taylor Gray.

Gray was otherwise hardly tested all game, as East Union outshot the Buffaloes, 25-5. Manuleleua had a chance to notch a second goal in the final minutes of the match but was thwarted by Gray.

“Even though it was a loss I think it was a big step for us as a team because I think the girls now believe that they can play with a team that is the caliber of East Union,” Manteca coach Justin Coenenberg said. “Especially in the first half we played real solid. We needed to do a better job of getting numbers up on the offensive third but defensively we were solid.”

It’s the closest game East Union has been in league. The Lancers are now 7-0 in the VOL and 9-0 overall. They are also ranked second in the state and 12th nationally by MaxPreps.

“Manteca is a good team, but we haven’t won anything yet,” East Union coach Victor Polanco said. “We still have the second round (of the league schedule) and playing these teams a second time is always tough.”

Sierra 8, Weston Ranch 0

Two days after scoring three goals apiece, Sydnee Canales, Kaleigh Doyle and Naomi Nunis each buried two Thursday for the Timberwolves (4-2-1, 9-4-2).

Stephanie Ochoa and Daisy Rivera each added a goal, and Kyndra Kiser contributed two assists. Marissa Scott (five saves) and Emma Broderick (two saves) combined for the shutout at goal.


East Union 3, Manteca 1

Julia Villagon, Shelbi Torres and Maria Andrade accounted for East Union’s goals.

Sierra 8, Weston Ranch 0

McKenna Doyle and Alyssa Taboa accounted for half of Sierra’s total goals, pouring in two apiece. Jocelyn Patane, Carolina Ortega, Briana Oseguera and Jordyn Costa were the other scorers.

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