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LANCERS UPENDED

Shutout streak halted, but Sierra still unbeaten

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LANCERS UPENDED

Sierra midfielder Mariela Pimentel splits East Union's Julie Lennert, 8, and Adriana Villasenor.

JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin/


POSTED March 25, 2009 4:41 a.m.
The string of shutouts is snapped, but the streak that matters most is still alive for Sierra.

The Timberwolves shook off its usual early-game rust and dominated the second half, when they scored all of their goals — two from Kayla Cody — to prevail 3-1 over rival East Union Tuesday at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium.

Sierra goalkeeper Moriah Fallon and her defensive line consisting of Melissa Bennett, Jamie Huffman, Hannah Obanni and Rebecca Scott had recorded 10 straight clean sheets going in.

East Union quickly put an end to it, as Rachel Bonds cleaned up after Fallon deflected her initial penalty kick in the third minute.

Fallon has given up just three goals all season and was well aware of the shutout streak. She also knows that her Timberwolves (3-0 Valley Oak League, 14-0-1 overall) are still unbeaten.

East Union (1-2, 5-6-3) was previously dealt a 6-0 loss by Sierra in the final round of the preseason Vern Gebhardt Champions Cup March 14.

“You know what? You can’t stop them all,” said Fallon, who had two saves. “The team played great, and the defense had a lot to do with it.”

On the other end of the field, Lancer netminder Gianna Hedin did an admirable job of protecting her goal, recording six stops.

After several near-misses, Sierra finally converted in the 53rd minute when Cody volleyed in Mariela Pimentel’s pass into the box from the right side. Cody delivered the go-ahead score just eight minutes later after Nicole Vanni, working off of Sydnee Koscielcki’s throw-in from the right corner, hit her with a far-post cross.

“I’m usually the one that’s the playmaker, so it was kind of nice to be the one that actually scored,” Cody said.

Koscielcki connected with Michaela Scott in the 66th minute for a much-needed insurance goal.

Sierra was in defensive mode over the final 13 minutes after one of its players was ejected by a red card.

After the contest, East Union coach Jim Todd took exception to what he thought was overly physical play from the Timberwolves, who were penalized for 17 of the 26 infractions. Sierra was also booked for seven times, with one player receiving two yellow cards.

“Basically, they hacked our players off the field,” Todd said. “It’s the most classless program we play and it’s allowed. I thought we outplayed them most of the game. I was just proud of our play, it was incredible. Everybody stepped up.”

While Sierra’s side felt wronged on many of the calls and non-calls, coach Manuel Pires was glad to see his players compose themselves to mount their big second-half run.

East Union’s trap induced nine offsides violations in the first half, but Sierra was called for just one in the second. The Timberwolves outshot the visitors 16-8 — 8-3 in the second half.

“Our chances were there early on, but we were real sloppy,” Pires said. “But in the second half we came around and we scored when we needed to. We deserve to win; we were the better team in the second half.”

East Union is in for another battle when three-time defending champion Sonora visits its home pitch Thursday. Sierra hosts Central Valley of Ceres.

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