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Geerlof’s goal keeps Buffs perfect in VOL

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Geerlof’s goal keeps Buffs perfect in VOL

Emmanuel Pulido watches as the ball, shot by Manteca High teammate Robbie Geerlof (not pictured), sail past Weston Ranch goalkeeper Jesus Pacheco. The goal was what decided visiting Manteca's 1-0 v...

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

POSTED September 18, 2010 3:09 a.m.
WESTON RANCH — Robbie Geerlof had three good looks at the Weston Ranch goal in the first half: Two were lifted well over the crossbar and split the football uprights, and the other was touched weakly to the keeper.

“I was 0-for-3,” the Manteca High senior said. “I needed one at least.”

He got one, and what a goal it was.

The Buffaloes completed the first week of Valley Oak League play undefeated with a 1-0 victory over Weston Ranch, one of several title contenders in what is expected to be a wide-open title race.

The deciding goal was a beauty. After Weston Ranch was called for a foul near the right sideline and from about 30 yards away from its goal, Giovanni Marin caught the Cougar backline napping by unleashing a quick free kick in the 57th minute.

Marin delivered his cross perfectly toward the opposite post, and the wide-open Geerlof volleyed his shot with his right foot and bent the ball over and around the outstretched arms of Cougar keeper Jesus Pacheco.

Manteca (2-0, 5-5-1) needed a shot like that to score on Pacheco (five saves), who otherwise played a great game. The heavy-legged goalie nearly had a few assists with his powerful punts.

Manteca and rival East Union are the only teams left in the VOL holding perfect records, but no one has st
ood out as the clear favorite.
“I don’t think so at all,” Manteca coach Justin Coenenberg said. “It’s still wide open, although it’s nice to be 2-0.

“The best part about it is that we played a tough preseason schedule and gave up a lot of goals, but we start league with two straight shutouts. We’re starting to come together.”

Weston Ranch (1-1, 4-2-2) did have its chances, however.

With a minute left in the first half, David Molina slammed a curling shot off the crossbar. And in the opening minute of the second half, Molina connected with Elias Venegas at the tail end of a well-constructed run, but Venegas’ low attempt from the right side settled wide left.

Manteca goalie Phillip Herrera had four saves in his second clean sheet of the season.
It was an evenly-played match. Weston Ranch had a 15-14 edge in shot attempts, though seven of Manteca’s were on frame compared to the Cougars’ four.

“We had one off the crossbar, and we had shots that weren’t even taken,” Weston Ranch coach Carlos Gaspar said. “There were opportunities for us to win this game, or at least tie it, we just didn’t capitalize. But I thought we played well. It was a very good, well-played game throughout. It’s early in the season; we still have a long ways to go.”
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