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Manteca-Sierra contest called due to darkness

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Sierra forward David Reyes maintains his balance as Manteca defender Jessi Linares fights for possession.


POSTED September 16, 2009 12:27 a.m.
Sierra has been a lights-out team in the second half of its games so far this season.

But the second half never happened at host Manteca’s Guss Schmiedt Field Tuesday.

Why? The lights went out.

The stadium lights began to intensify with roughly 10 minutes left in the first half, with Sierra ahead 1-0, but they abruptly shut off along with the scoreboard. Sierra head coach Jose Montes said he saw sparks and smoke coming from a fuse box behind the visiting bleachers.

“That was ugly,” he said.

With natural light quickly vanishing at halftime, the officials called an end to the game. Members of both teams lined up at midfield much like they would after a match, and players jokingly said, “Good half,” as they shook hands.

“Things were looking better for us in this game,” Manteca coach Justin Coenenberg said, “so it’s just a shame the lights went out.”

Coenenberg’s Buffaloes (0-1 Valley Oak League, 1-7 overall) played well defensively throughout the half and began to threaten on the other end of the pitch in the later stages. Manteca goalkeeper Florin Lambert did well to keep his team in the contest, as he recorded three saves.

Sierra (0-0-1, 5-5-1) struck in the 21st minute when Oscar Garcia pushed a through ball ahead to jump start Braian Gomez’s breakaway and resulting 1-on-1 opportunity.

“Our big problem this year is that we keep having breakdowns on defense,” Coenenberg said. “We just need to not have those little breakdowns and apply more pressure offensively, and we were doing that in the last 15 minutes.”

Sierra outshot Manteca 7-4, but Montes wasn’t pleased with the quality of shots taken.

“We’re coming off the game at Central Valley (in Ceres Monday night), and it was high intensity,” Montes said. “I could tell that the kids’ legs were a little bit tired, so I wanted to see how they’d respond in the second half. We’re a team that seems to come back better in the second half, and we were looking for that.”

Neither coach was sure when the rest of the game will be made up if it will be at all.

Sierra athletic director and VOL soccer manager Greg Leland will check in with the California Interscholastic Federation today. He speculated that the game may have to be replayed in its entirety, and there’s also the possibility that a single half could qualify as a full game.

Manteca will next face Lathrop Thursday at Lincoln Park, while Sierra hosts Sonora.

East Union 2, Oakdale 0

At Dino Cunial Field Tuesday, the Lancers (2-0, 5-3-1) picked up their first big victory of the regular season against perennially tough Oakdale (0-1, 7-2-1).

Gabriel Avalos put East Union on board off a feed from Francisco Marmolejo. Victor Garibay’s header off of Julio Pimentel’s cross doubled the margin in the second half, and goalkeeper Joe Modesto preserved the shutout with a nice save on a point-blank attempt.

“It was a pretty even game, but our defense played great,” East Union Clarence Goes said. “Oakdale is a great team, and it took our ‘A’ game to compete with them today.”

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