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Manteca stuns Kimball in VOL finale

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POSTED May 2, 2014 12:27 a.m.

Manteca may be a third-place postseason qualifier out of the Valley Oak League, but the Buffaloes may be one of the most dangerous teams going in.

They completed their Valley Oak League schedule Thursday with a 3-2 upset of runner-up Kimball, a much different result from Manteca’s 4-1 loss to the Jaguars a month ago.

On Tuesday, league champion East Union needed a late goal from star striker Isela Rivera to knock off Manteca (9-3-2 VOL, 16-4-2 overall), 1-0.

“I was so proud of the girls to be able to clinch that (playoff) spot early, so they were able to go into these last two games with no pressure,” Manteca coach Justin Coenenberg said. “They were able to go out and compete. The East Union game could have turned out differently, but the girls are definitely coming out confident and playing well. We’re peaking into the playoffs, so we’re excited with where we’re going.”

Lelja Pepic helped give the Buffaloes some needed breathing room in the second half of Thursday’s match, assisting Leah Manuelelua’s goal while scoring one of her own for a 3-1 lead. Stanford commit Stephanie Tran closed Kimball (11-3, 12-4) late with an impressive mid-range volley.

Manuleleua finished with two goals, and Avigail Mayen contributed a pair of assists. Manteca held a 22-15 shot advantage, and goalkeeper Alyssa Burch recorded 10 saves.

“We out-possessed them, won the 50-50 balls and had some good combination play in the offensive third,” Coenenberg said. “Halfway through the second half we got kind of stagnant on offense, so we decided to put (defender) Harleen Pabla up top and she did a good job of sparking us.”

Manteca will likely be placed in the Division III bracket of the Sac-Joaquin Section, which begins with out-bracket games next Tuesday.

Sierra 6, Lathrop 0

Seniors Jessica Cuenca and Daisy Rivera tallied two goals apiece for the Timberwolves (8-5-1, 13-7-2), who ruined the Spartans’ senior night in the VOL finale for both teams. Sierra led 3-0 at the break and Emma Broderick tallied up eight saves in 72 minutes in the goal. Alexis Young finished the game in the net and made one save, and during that time Broderick registered an assist.

Sierra senior Sydnee Canales finished with two assists and missed on all six of her shot attempts. Raelene Mendieta and freshman Kaleigh Doyle (two assists) were responsible for Sierra’s other two scores. Kristyn DeBrouwer recorded an assist, too.

“I think they were happy and sad at the same time,” Sierra head coach Manuel Pires said. “Obviously this was the last time we’ll play together as this group, but for the season overall we did a good job and were very close to getting back into the playoffs.

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