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Buffaloes knock off Sierra again on home field

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Sierra’s Kristyn DeBrouwer clears the ball past Ivy Benson of Manteca.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin/

POSTED April 18, 2014 12:54 a.m.

Guss Schmiedt Field hasn’t been too kind to Sierra’s girls soccer team the last two years.

It is there where the Timberwolves’ eight-year dominance over city rival Manteca ended in 2013, and they dropped another well-contested decision Thursday night, 2-1.

With the losses came injuries to their standouts.

Last year, quick-footed striker Naomi Nunis went down with a knee injury that still affects her today. She did not suit up for Thursday’s match because of it. Center midfielder Daisy Rivera and freshman forward Kaleigh Doyle didn’t return after sustaining injuries Thursday and are questionable for Sierra’s upcoming, and pivotal, game with Kimball.

“I don’t know what it is, but the last couple of years I’ve lost some of my key players on this field,” Sierra coach Manuel Pires said. “(Manteca’s) style of play is very aggressive but I don’t think it was that. Just bad luck, I guess.”

The rematch played out differently than their March 25 meeting, when Sierra (6-4-1 Valley Oak League, 11-6-2 overall) outplayed the Buffaloes (6-2-2, 13-3-2) for most of the 80 minutes at rain-soaked Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium but settled for a 1-1 tie — the fourth stalemate between the two in five games.

This time it was evenly played throughout with both teams missing some of their few scoring opportunities. Sierra outshot Manteca 10-9, but six of the Buffaloes’ attempts were on frame versus four for the visitors.

Jessica Cuenca blew a half-volley past Manteca goalie Alyssa Burch (three saves) off a long ball from Sydnee Canales in the 16th minute.

Manteca leveled the score in the 35th minute. Avigail Mayen set up the equalizer on a corner kick delivered for Leah Manuleleua in the 6-yard box. The ball sailed over the intended target, but Harleen Pabla was there near the opposite post to put it away.

The Buffaloes jumped ahead for good in the 67th minute when Mayen buried a penalty kick. Sierra missed a PK of its own four minutes into the second half.

“We have a young team and a lot of them have never played on a stage like this,” Manteca coach Justin Coenenberg said. “They stepped up after going down 1-0. They didn’t fold, kept fighting and did a good job.”

While Sierra was missing its top striker, so too was Manteca. Freshman Lejla Pepic, who leads the Bufaloes with 11 goals, has been in and out of the lineup with a sore hip. Coenenberg said Fechi Nkwocha has helped fill the void nicely along with Pabla, who started the year as a wing defender.

“With Pepic hurt we tend to get a little stagnant on offense,” Coenenberg said. “She’s a workhorse up there and she’s a creator, so we miss having her up there.”

The win moves Manteca ahead of Sierra for the VOL’s third-place spot; only the top three move on to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.

Sierra, however, has the more forgiving schedule to close the regular season. After its game with defending champ Kimball next Tuesday, the Timberwolves finish with road games against Lathrop and Weston Ranch — teams they previously drubbed by a combined 18-1 score.

Manteca has four contests left, a stretch that includes dangerous Oakdale, still-unbeaten East Union and second-place Kimball.

“It was a must-win for us,” Coenenberg said. “A loss would have made things a whole lot tougher. We still have our work cut out for us but this was a big win against a quality Sierra opponent that has been playing real well lately.”

East Union 6,
 Weston Ranch 0

The Lancers (11-0, 14-0) took a four-goal lead in an 11-minute span in the first half and never looked back.

Freshman Jenna Zuniga accounted for the first two goals. Ilena Rivera, Taylor Rose and Mandy Kay Roberts each struck once to make it 5-0 by halftime. Starting goalie Taylor Gray capped scoring in the 48th minute. Bella Cardenas chipped in with two assists.

Oakdale 4, Lathrop 0

Danae Rose scored two goals to lead the visiting Mustangs (5-5-1, 6-8-3).

Cassandra Flores collected six keeper saves for Lathrop (2-8-1, 5-13-2). Jaseyna Barajas and Yaneli Avila each had good goal-scoring opportunities.

Trans-Valley League

Ripon 5, Orestimba 0

The Indians (6-1-4, 9-2-5) secured a postseason spot with Thursday’s blowout. The last time they met Orestimba they played to a 1-1 tie on the road.

Hailey Monroe scored in the 10th and 52nd minutes. Amanda Evans had one goal and three assists. Zaire Davis and Sarah Ellis each chipped on a goal.

Goalie Sam Brooks finished with three saves, and the Indians outshot their opponent, 22-8.


Ripon 4, Orestimba 0

Bella Helppie, Alaina Cornilsen, Alex Vander Maaten and Devon Denhart accounted for Ripon’s scoring. The Indians improved to 7-2 in the TVL.

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