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Sierra coach reaches career milestone days after losing his father

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Sierra wing forward Kayla Cody wards off an El Dorado defender just moments before assisting Stephanie Vanni's goal in the 41st minute of Tuesday's Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoff opener at...


POSTED May 13, 2009 2:02 a.m.
There wasn’t else much Manuel Pires could say to his players except, “Thank you,” after Sierra cruised to a 5-0 victory over visiting El Dorado of Placerville to open the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs Tuesday.

Moments later, his wife, Christine, and daughter, Monica, buried their tear-drenched faces into his right shoulder.

It was a bittersweet and touching moment for the Pires family and the rest of the Timberwolves, who improved their impressive season record to 26-0-1.

Manuel Pires lost his father, Manuel Sr., on Saturday, but on Tuesday he won his 300th career victory as Sierra’s only and decorated head coach in the school’s 15-year existence.

 “It’s been tough, but I’m just happy to be out here with my team, my coaches and my family,” he said. “God never gives us anything we can’t handle, and there’s a reason why I’m here.

“My father is in a better place and is at home with God. I feel at home here, this is my second family.”

Pires’ already-busy week continues Thursday in Sacramento where Sierra looks to avenge two previous playoff losses to West Campus in the second round. On Friday, he will bid farewell to his father, and on Saturday he hopes to capture his program’s fourth section championship along with win No. 302.

West Campus ousted Colfax 3-0 Tuesday.

“We’re not going to get 302 without 301, so we need to focus on our next game,” Pires said.

Sierra forward Kayla Cody saw to it that her coach reached the milestone.

Cody had two goals and an assist and was booked for a yellow card while trying to complete the hat trick with 11 minutes to go.

“I’m just trying to play hard,” Cody said. “I have to give it all for my team and especially Manuel. He’s been a great supporter for all of us, and we dedicate all of this to him.”

Delaine Quaresma and Vanni sisters Nicole and Stephanie each contributed a goal. Michaela Scott assisted Quaresma’s score in the 34th minute, and Sydnee Koscielecki connected with Cody to cap the final score with 15 minutes to go.

Quaresma, though, was carried off the field after colliding with El Dorado goalie Kelsey Hartshorn. Starting midfielder Brooke Grant and Koscielecki also hobbled off the field in the second half.
“It was a very physical game and we have a couple kids banged up,” Pires said. “Hopefully we can get them back (today) for practice, but we do have some depth on our bench.”

With Sierra dominating on the field, holding a commanding 12-3 advantage on shots, Moriah Fallon was left with little work to do while guarding the net, but she did her part in preserving Sierra’s 22nd shutout of the season.

El Dorado (9-5-3) was granted a penalty kick in the 72nd minute thanks to a questionable foul called in the box, and Fallon batted Jesslyn Jana’s attempt wide of the right post.

“I think the referee just wanted to see if we had a goalkeeper,” Pires said. “I don’t know what he saw there, and I’ll leave it at that, but we do have a goalkeeper. It was an awesome one-handed save. She closed it down for us.”
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