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East Union earns No. 1 seed

Lancers, Knights will host openers;Ripon must travel

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East Union earns No. 1 seed

Teagan Manus leads Ripon Christian into its second straight postseason appearance next week.

JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin


POSTED May 4, 2013 1:33 a.m.



Jim Todd gave his East Union girls soccer team the day off on Friday.

Come Monday, though, it’s back to work.

The Lancers will open the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs on Thursday as the No. 1 seed, a just reward following a one-loss regular season and two hard-fought games against Valley Oak League champion and Division II contender Kimball.

On Monday’s practice agenda:

“Basics,” said Todd, the Lancers’ seventh-year head coach. “We’re getting back to basics – and PKs, too. We’ll work on (penalty kicks) for sure. More than we did last year.”

East Union (19-1-2) is one of three local teams to clinch a postseason berth and one of two to host a first-round game Thursday. The Lancers will tangle with Foothill (6-8-2).

Southern League champion and third-seeded Ripon Christian (16-7-2) will welcome No. 6 Delta (2-13) in a Division VII opener.

Ripon won’t have to travel far for its Division V first-round game.

The No. 7 Indians, led by four-year starters Tia Sidtikun (18 goals) and Brianna Mortimer (10 goals), will try to knock off No. 2 Central Catholic in a rematch of a 2009 section final.

“I like our pairing,” Ripon assistant coach Bryce Perkins said. “I really like our pairing.”

Speaking of Central Catholic…

East Union was in a similar position last spring. The Lancers entered the Division IV tournament an overwhelming favorite to win the program’s first section championship after cruising to a Valley Oak League crown.

Their high didn’t last long.

An upstart Central Catholic group delivered a stunning first-round knockout, eliminating the East Union in a penalty kick shootout, 3-2.

For Todd, the emotions of that loss are still fresh. He has committed the most telling statistic to memory: His team owned a 21-3 shot advantage, yet couldn’t push one past the Raiders in 100 minutes of action.

“I wish I could rewind that game. I remember it like it was yesterday, and I can think of a couple of adjustments I would have made in the second half,” he said. “Penalty kicks … That was tough because I had never seen that type of finish before.

“We just couldn’t finish. We’ve been harping on them that you have to hit frame, can’t have defensive lapses and can’t have moments when you’re not thinking.

“We’ll see.”

Ripon (10-5-2) hopes it can turn the tables on Central Catholic (12-2-4).

The Indians finished third in the Trans-Valley League but may be playing their best soccer of the season.

“I believe we’re one of the best third-place teams you can find. We were so close to winning a TVL title this year,” Perkins said. “I believe we can give anybody a run.”

Perkins says he and head coach Jose Bobadilla tinkered with the starting lineup and rotations down the stretch, and it’s hard to argue results.

Ripon has won three of its last four games and is unbeaten in four of its last five. It has outscored the opposition 18-10 in those five games.

“We’ve found the right combination on the field,” Perkins said. “We’ve experimented with our lineup and we’ve got one that will challenge; one that will surprise people.”

Ripon and Central Catholic last met in the 2009 Division V final. The Indians would win the first of two consecutive championships with a 1-0 overtime victory.

The Raiders remain just as tough. Central blitzed WAC competition en route to the title and has favorable results against larger schools on its 2013 ledger: Victories over Pitman and Inderkum, a draw with Sierra and a narrow defeat to Stockton St. Mary’s.

“I think we’ll give CC a run for their money,” Perkins said. “I believe when they’re focused they have demonstrated the ability to not just run with anybody but to dominate the field. I think the playoffs will bring that focus out in them.”





To contact James Burns, e-mail jburns@mantecabulletin.com.

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