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EU spoils playoff-bound Manteca’s Senior Night

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EU spoils playoff-bound Manteca’s Senior Night

East Union defender ReAnna Schmitt gets in front of a pass intended for Manteca's Brianna Flynn.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin


POSTED May 7, 2010 2:51 a.m.
There wasn’t anything left but pride at stake by the time East Union and Manteca kicked off their final Valley Oak League match of the season Thursday night at Guss Schmiedt Field.

East Union ended up going out with a bang, ruining its crosstown rival’s Senior Night festivities with a 1-0 victory.

The Lancers (11-3-2, 16-5-4 overall) needed Oakdale to drop its regular-season finale to Sonora Thursday for them to clinch the third Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV postseason berth, but Oakdale punched its playoff ticket with a 2-0 victory.

“This is a light consolation right here,” East Union coach Jim Todd said. “I thought that they played well and controlled the game. They moved the ball real well and finished the season on the field strong.”

Manteca (12-3-1, 18-5-2), meanwhile, had a shot to overtake the third school in town, Sierra, for first place. Weston Ranch needed to at least tie Sierra to make that possible, but Sierra went on to capture its second straight VOL championship and 11th overall with a 5-0 win.

The Buffaloes were in position to control their own destiny to start the week but had to win out against tough teams. On Tuesday, Oakdale scored in the final minute to force a 1-1 tie that dropped Manteca down to second place.

Manteca and Oakdale (13-1-4) wrap up the season even on points with 37 in the standings, but the Buffaloes own the head-to-head tiebreaker having won their first meeting, 1-0.

Thursday’s loss won’t hurt Manteca going forward, but it does still sting.

“East Union is a very talented team and played very well, so I’m not taking anything away from them, but I think emotionally we were still a little down from Tuesday’s game,” Manteca coach Justin Coenenberg said. “It’s hard to get up for a game after that, and we were flat almost this whole game.

“You’d like to win your last game going into the playoffs and send the seniors off with a win on their last night on this field.”

East Union struck for the game’s only goal in the 42nd minute. Megan Howley, working off a feed from Eliana da Silva, broke free before setting up shop near the 18-yard line and sending it in.

The Lancers controlled the match up until that point, as Manteca’s offense kicked into gear and strung together several threatening attacking runs.

Just five minutes later, Sammie Morris delivered a well-timed touch pass to freshman classmate Sialei Manuleleua, who hurried her breakaway attempt and sent it well over the target.

Manteca had two great opportunities in the final seconds. Brittany Costa bombed a desperation shot from near midfield and nearly scored off the bounce, as both the ball and East Union goalkeeper Taylor Maruca collided with the right post before a defender cleared the ball but set the Buffaloes up with a cornerkick.

The game was prematurely called after the cornerkick was delivered, however, as Morris blasted in a shot from the top of the penalty box a second after the final whistle sounded.

Manteca finished with a 14-10 shot advantage. Maruca had just three saves but stuffed a one-on-one challenge from Morris in the first half and got between several dangerous crosses while recording her 13th shutout of the season.

“That’s probably the first game we outshot somebody and didn’t win,” Coenenberg said. “It’s very disappointing that we didn’t get the win, but now we have to move on from this and get ready for a very long trip.”

Manteca will likely meet Pioneer Valley League No. 2 seed Colfax in the opening round of the playoffs May 18.
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