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Sierra silences Lathrop in physical VOL match

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Sierra silences Lathrop in physical VOL match

Sierra’s Erik Noriega makes his way to towards the goal after flipping a quick pass Thursday in Valley Oak League action.

JAGADA CHAMBERS/The Bulletin


POSTED September 28, 2012 12:42 a.m.

It seemed as if nothing could separate the Lathrop Spartans and Sierra Timberwolves Thursday in Valley Oak League action. Not physicality, yellow cards, or outstanding goalie play would cause the difference. That would come from a picture-perfect heel kick from Nicholas Gonzalez in a 1-0 Sierra win.

Gonzalez raced up the center-right side of the pitch in dead chase of a pass. He was able to compose and get off a shot that the Lathrop keeper fended off. Caleb Ngui gathered in the rebound, dumped it to Gonzalez and he would do the rest.

“He dumped it off to me and I knew I didn’t have enough time to turn around, so I just back-heeled it,” Gonzalez said. “I was just hoping for the best and it went in.

“It got in on the corner; right there on the side.”

The two clubs were intertwined in what has become a staple in VOL soccer, matching intensity and physical play for the entire match. Lathrop was able to find occasions where it would put runs together, but Sierra was the club able to take the ever-so-valuable league win.

“We told them that it’s not enough to just play the game, today you are going to have to get dirty,” Sierra co-head coach Jose Montes said. “In the second half we knew that we were going to have to hustle and try and win every ball. It may not have looked pretty like we’ve been playing, but we had to go out and beat them.”

Lathrop has been in every league contest t, yet have come up with a pair of losses and four tough ties. The Spartans were never a team that looked overmatched, but definitely a team that was not enthused to continue in the physical exchanges.

“I think we had a tough time matching up with their physicality,” Lathrop head coach Lenny Lial said. “They’re athletic, they’re fast and they’re physical. When we had 50-50 balls a lot of the time we were just not used to absolutely being manhandled and shoved off the ball like that.

“These games are so important at this point maybe we need to learn that as you go in this league maybe you need to play like that.”

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