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TIMBERWOLVES TAKE THE LEAD

Sierra strikes quickly to leapfrog Manteca

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TIMBERWOLVES TAKE THE LEAD

Sierra's Delaine Quaresma clears the ball away from the penalty box with a header off a cornerkick.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin


POSTED April 16, 2010 2:44 a.m.
Manuel Pires called his Sierra High soccer team “a work in progress” following a huge 3-0 victory over visiting rival Manteca Thursday.

The Timberwolves (8-0-2 Valley Oak League, 11-4-2 overall) are finally at full strength with several starters getting their legs back after suffering early-season injuries, but there was nothing “work in progress-ish” about their effort at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium.

Manteca (8-2, 14-3-1) led Sierra from atop the league standings by a point going in, and its only other loss was against the T’Wolves. Manteca hasn’t beaten them since 2005 and is 0-9-2 against them since.

“This whole week we worked hard to get back to (first place), and hopefully we can stay there,” said Sierra forward Stephanie Vanni, who capped the score with a penalty kick in the 29th minute. “We just came out pumped up and were ready to play them again.”

That was evident at the start, when Sierra, much like it did in its first meeting with the Buffaloes, landed the first blows just moments after the opening kickoff.

Sydnee Koscielecki converted the match’s first shot attempt with a well-placed ball from 25 yards out, lofting it over the outstretched arms of goalkeeper Jimi Guibor and just under the crossbar in the third minute.

In the seventh, Joanna Ortiz snuck around a defender after Delaine Quaresma sent a pinpoint through ball into the box and punched it in.

Sierra thoroughly dominated the first half, taking 10 shots to Manteca’s two.

The first time the two teams met on March 18, Sierra struck in the second and fourth minutes and took a 3-1 lead with a PK in the 28th.

“Déjà vu,” Manteca coach Justin Coenenberg said. “It was exactly what we talked about. We knew that they score a lot of their goals in the first 10 to 15 minutes, and we talked about withstanding the barrage.”

For the first 30 minutes of the second half, it was Manteca mounting its own barrages, but its few threatening attacks were a touch shy from getting on the scoreboard.

The Buffaloes’ best look came in the first minute of the second half, but Rileigh Mankin’s volley off a cross from Breanne Hatfield bounced barely wide of the left post.

Sierra goalie Moriah Fallon made some nice saves to keep the sheet clean, recording four of her five in the second half. Guibor ended up with six.
Sierra didn’t attempt its first shot in the second half until the 19th minute, but the defensive line made up of Maryann Baker, Rebecca Scott, Donna Ochoa and Koscielecki hung tough.

Manteca was shut out for just the second time this season.

“I thought our defense played very, very well,” Pires said. “They were organized and backed each other up. We made (Manteca) work for everything, and our midfield was also key because we were able to hold the ball and move it to where we needed to.”
With six games left, nothing is guaranteed in the four-team race for the three postseason berths and the conference championship.

Sierra heads to Sonora next Monday and has to face fourth-place Oakdale Tuesday then third-place East Union Thursday. Sierra battled both Oakdale and EU to scoreless ties during the first round of league play.

Manteca plays Lathrop, Weston Ranch and Central Valley next week.

“We both still have to play East Union and Oakdale and there are some other dangerous teams that are farther back in the pack,” Coenenberg said. “It’s far from over, we’re just hoping they’ll lose, and if they don’t our goal will be to get one of the playoff spots and maybe play them again in the playoffs.”

Oakdale 2, East Union 1
OAKDALE —East Union (6-2-2, 11-4-4) once again couldn’t hold onto an early lead, but this time it couldn’t squeak out a tie against Oakdale (5-1-3, 12-3-4).

The Mustangs remain in fourth place but made up ground thanks to goals from Jill Kahler in the 14th and 47th minutes.

Ode Castillo put EU ahead in the fifth minute, finishing off a nice pass from Megan Howley.
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