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Timberwolves record sixth straight shutout

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POSTED March 14, 2009 6:39 a.m.
To say the Sierra Timberwolves are playing good soccer at this point in the season would be quite the understatement.

Collecting their sixth straight shutout with a 3-0 win over Lincoln of Lincoln Friday night at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium, the Timberwolves concluded a nearly perfect day on the pitch to open the 4th Annual Vern Gebhardt Champions Cup.

Earlier in the day, Sierra dispatched Central Catholic, 4-0, and with the pair of pool play wins inked its name in today’s 1:30 p.m. semifinal match with Galt.

With a win against the Warriors, Sierra (9-0-1) will face either East Union or Turlock in the 5 p.m. tournament championship.

“Either way, it’s going to be fun,” Sierra head coach Manuel Pires said of today’s championship possibilities.

The fun got started early and lasted the entire 60 minutes Friday night.

Racking up 32 shots, and 18 alone in the first half, Sierra peppered the net for three first half goals before sending Nicole Vanni, Michaela Scott and Brooke Grant to the sideline for good with 20 minutes left in the second half.

Grant scored the game’s first goal off a Kayla Cody assist at the 8-minute, 38-second mark of the first half, and Scott recorded her first assist 10 minutes later when Cody sent one home through a scrum in the box.

With 4:08 remaining before half, Scott knocked a pass backward toward a streaking Vanni who then did what she does best – shake opposing goalies out of their cleats before racking up yet another goal.

Vanni finished Friday with three goals and an assist.

“I thought we played an excellent first half,” Pires said. “We moved the ball really, really well. We attacked and created great chances and we put them in the net.”

Sierra spent less than a minute in its defensive zone in the first half, won almost every 50-50 ball, and juked and jived their way around defenders with ease.

Both Sydnee Koscielecki and Diana Alfaro made highlight-reel plays with their feet in the open field, beating one-on-one coverage with flair to the delight of Sierra’s sideline and the home crowd.

“I was really pleased with the speed at which we played, and all of the options we created with the passing game,” Pires said. “Everybody was making the proper runs and finding the open players.”

Hannah Obanni and Melissa Bennett took a seat at the 12-minute mark of the second half and Sierra’s depth didn’t skip a beat.

No matter who was on the field, Lincoln simply had no answer.

“Everybody here is working to get minutes,” Pires said. “And they know (playing well is) what it’s going to take. They work very hard, and they practice very hard together, so when it comes time for the game they are ready to step in and continue to play like we need to.”

It took just two minutes for Sierra to score its first goal against Central Catholic on an Obanni header off a Lacy Vaughn corner.

Vaughn then hooked up Vanni for her first goal 20 minutes later.

Vanni made it 3-0 in the 44th minute off a Cody assist, and Scott capped the scoring with a help from Vanni.

Sierra outshot CC 16-5 in the first match, and Moriah Fallon had five saves.
Fallon only touched the ball three times in the nightcap.

It wasn’t all good news Friday, however.

Joanna Ortiz tweaked her knee when she planted awkwardly in the early game, and Mariela Pimentel pulled her quad. Ortiz was on crutches during the Lincoln contest and Pimentel didn’t dress either.

Pires expects Pimentel back soon, and is awaiting word on the extent of Ortiz’s injury.

East Union 4, Johansen 0
East Union 2, Urban 1
It wasn’t all about Sierra Friday at the Vern Gebhardt Champions Cup.

With two wins, the Lancers set up a semifinal match against Turlock today at noon at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium.

In the shutout win over Johansen, Kaci Todd went to the left foot for a beautiful assist to Megan Howley in the 18th minute to break a scoreless tie.

Howley found net again in the 39th minute on a shared assist from Leilani Villasenor and Odemaris Castillo.

Rachel Bonds found net on a penalty kick in the 55th minute, and Milli Mendoza capped the scoring off a corner from Adriana Villasenor.

EU head coach Jim Todd described Jesika Villegas as having a “monster day” on the defensive end.

The Lancers (3-3-1) outshot Johansen 35-1, and followed it up with a 21-2 shot discrepancy against Urban of San Francisco.

Bonds scored both East Union goals in the nightcap from 30 and 40 yards out, respectively.

Both goals were unassisted.
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