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Manteca clinches playoff berth; VOL title next?

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Manteca clinches playoff berth; VOL title next?

Manteca High freshman Sialei Manuleleua celebrates her goal with teammate Brianna Flynn, who provided the assist, in the 33rd minute of Thursday's Valley Oak League soccer match with Sonora at Guss...

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED April 30, 2010 2:49 a.m.
Manteca High’s girls soccer ended its playoff drought by beating visiting Sonora 1-0 Thursday.

The score wasn’t indicative of the Buffaloes’ dominance after they outshot Sonora 37-6, though the visitors did have a few chances to tie it in the second half.

“We would have liked to have a more hit the back of the net, but we’re happy to get a spot in the playoffs,” second-year coach Justin Coenenberg said. “We have a big week coming up, so hopefully we saved some (goals) for then.”

The Buffaloes (12-2, 17-4-1 overall) clinched their first Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV postseason berth since 2006, and the youth-laded squad has one more big goal to meet.

The Valley Oak League championship, which Manteca hasn’t claimed since 2005, is within reach but has two matches remaining against teams vying for the third postseason spot.

Manteca leapfrogged idle Sierra, the defending conference titlist, in the standings for first place. Next is Oakdale, which the Buffaloes edged 1-0 in their first meeting, Tuesday on the road, then East Union at home next Thursday.

Oakdale (11-1-3) still has a shot at the championship but needs help.

“None of my players have been in the playoffs before,” Coenenberg said. “They’re excited. I’m not sure they understand how big a step they took for the program. For such a team, it’s a huge.”

The underclassmen played a big role in Thursday’s win.

Freshman Sialei Manuleleua provided the only goal off an assist from senior Brianna Flynn in the 33rd minute.

Sophomore goalkeeper Jimi Guibor (six saves) did her part to preserve the victory. With just under 10 minutes left, Sonora standout Tori Selesia snuck behind the defense, but her 1-on-1 opportunity was stuffed by Guibor.

“We pretty much dominated, but I don’t know if we were a little rusty coming off the bye,” Coenenberg said. “In the second half, (Sonora) packed it in and had like six defenders back there most of the time, and their goalie made some unbelievable saves.”

East Union 6, Weston Ranch 0
The Lancers (9-3-2, 14-5-4) celebrated Senior Night in a big way Thursday at Dino Cunial Field while keeping its playoffs hopes intact.

The VOL’s fourth-place squad jumped ahead in the 25th minute when Megan Howley finished off a sequence starting with a cross from Kayla Lamont and ending with a boot from near the 18-yard line.

Howley finished with two goals and an assist, while Lamont later chipped in a goal of her own in the 53rd minute.

Kaitlyn Hughes and Ode Castillo each turned in a goal. Providing assists were Jessica Villegas, Stephanie Sabala and Selena da Silva. Goalkeeper Taylor Maruca recorded her 11th shutout of the season.

“I thought we looked great executing things we practiced for, with movement of the ball, penetration through overlaps, winning balls out of the air and communication,” EU coach Jim Todd said.

East Union must win out to have a chance at the postseason. Next is Central Valley on the road Tuesday.

Ceres 1, Lathrop 0
LATHROP — The first-year varsity Spartans (0-15) had their best shot at garnering the program’s first league win Thursday, but an early goal allowed and missed opportunities on the other end prevented that.

“We had the game,” Lathrop coach Ryan Biedermann said. “I’d say 80 percent of the game was on their side of the field, we just couldn’t buy a goal.

“We’re not getting victories, but the scores are coming down. The players are getting used to playing together, and it’s definitely getting better.”

Coach Biedermann singled out the play of center attacking midfielder Dominique Caceres and freshman sweeper Victoria Iniquez  for their efforts.

Lathrop caps its inaugural varsity season against Sierra Tuesday.

— Jonamar Jacinto
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