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Manteca solid in tourney-opening loss

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Manteca solid in tourney-opening loss

Jose Ramirez advances the ball up the right wing.


POSTED September 4, 2009 12:03 a.m.
After a pair of disappointing losses to open the 2009 season, Manteca head coach Justin Coenenberg was looking for signs of improvement Thursday night at Guss Schmiedt Field, where his Buffaloes took on Bret Harte in the opening round of the 2nd Annual Buffalo Cup.

Despite a 3-1 loss that was much closer than the final score indicated, Coenenberg got the progress out of his players that he was looking for.

Bret Harte played most of the first half in Manteca’s zone and put up 14 shots on goal, but French foreign exchange student Florian Lambert, a volleyball player back home, was impressive in goal, stopping six shots in shutting out the Bullfrogs.

“It wasn’t pretty, but it was a lot better than our first two games,” Coenenberg said. “I saw glimpses of good things. Before, we weren’t able to string even two passes together, but there were times when we could string three or four (tonight).”

Bret Harte opened the scoring with back-to-back goals fourth and 14th minutes of the second half, but Manteca responded when junior varsity call-up Niko Gonzalez sent a perfectly-placed cross to the box, where Marvin Forester was waiting to send it home.

The Buffaloes just missed on an opportunity moments before scoring their first goal, and were able to break Bret Harte’s zone dominance throughout the second half.

The Bullfrogs put the contest on ice in the 29th minute of the 35-minute second half.

“We played with our formation a little bit in the second half,” Coenenberg said. “We tried to generate some more offense and in doing so, we gave up a couple of goals, but we created more opportunities than we had in the first half. We just haven’t found that balance yet.”

Lambert finished with 14 saves, which was a blessing for Coenenberg, who entered the season without a single keeper on the varsity roster.

Besides Lambert, Vince Herrera, who moved back to sweeper for the contest, and Dallas Vasquez, a physical presence at the midfield, were bright spots.

Manteca (0-3) next suits up at 8:30 a.m. Saturday for the second round of the Buffalo Cup.

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