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High school rivals team up in upset of nationally-ranked club

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High school rivals team up in upset of nationally-ranked club

High school rivals during in the fall, Anis Guedoir (Sierra), left, and Manuel Nuno (Manteca) are among the Mantecans who play for the Central Valley Monarcas Academy under-16 team.

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POSTED July 31, 2013 11:06 p.m.

Six standouts from Manteca high schools played key roles in the Central Valley Monarcas Academy’s second-place finish in the 3rd Annual do Campeonato July 13-14 at Cherry Island Soccer Complex in Sacramento.

The 16-under squad includes Manteca High student-athletes Carlos Belmonte, Alex Hernandez and Manuel Nuno; Jaime Casaneda and Abel Lopez of East Union; and Sierra’s Anis Guedoir have joined forces. They are led by Vince Meyer, a longtime coach in the Manteca area and former varsity girls head coach for East Union.

Monarcas’s crowning achievement during the tournament was its 1-0 semifinal upset of Milan FC Rossoneri, the Ballico-based club ranked No. 1 in the state and third nationally.

Belmonte anchored the defense to help preserve the shutout.  First-half goalie Eric Deleon was injured shortly before halftime, but with Lopez replacing him between the posts Monarcas didn’t skip a beat. Lopez came through with several big saves in the second half, and the team held on to win, 1-0. Andy Garcia scored the lone goal in the opening half, finishing a counter attack started by defender Sean Baird.

“We are very familiar with Milan, and we have immense respect for them and all they have accomplished,” Meyer said. “We had a plan for weeks on how we would play them and hopefully defeat them if given the opportunity, and the boys stuck to the plan to a tee. I am very proud of the entire team and the preparation and discipline they have proven to themselves.”

Their weekend run, however, would end with a 1-0 loss to Redwood City’s Juventus CRS Elite in the finals. It was Central Valley’s third match on that Sunday, which began with a 5-2 drubbing of Cap FC ’97. Monarcas went 2-0-1 in their flight, starting with a 1-1 tie against Cruz Azul of Fresno and a 3-0 shutout of the Folsom Red Bulls.

“The (championship) game was almost an identical repeat of our earlier match against Milan, but unfortunately I think we were a bit spent and just could not get that one goal in to give Juventus more of a challenge,” Meyer said. “It was our third match in a matter of hours, and the boys gave it all that I could have asked.”

The Monarcas Academy under-16 team took a big leap in the GotSoccer.com national rankings, moving 145 spots up to 144th. They are 24th in Northern California and 48th in Region 4.

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