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Manteca hangs on against tough Cougars

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Manteca’s Kevin Rodriguez and Weston Ranch’s Kevin Medina battle for the ball during the championship game of the 6th annual Buffalo Cup.

HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin/

POSTED September 9, 2013 12:47 a.m.

DeleteIt took Manteca a half to get going but the Buffaloes came to life in the second half of the Buffalo Cup championship game.

Against a resurgent Weston Ranch, Manteca scored two quick goals to start the second half and then hung on for a 2-1 win to keep the championship trophy at home for the second time in as many years.

 “We have heard a lot about them,” Manteca coach Justin Coenenberg said. “They are basically a club team that has played together for a while.

 “You can definitely tell by watching them that they are in sync and playing well.”

 The Buffaloes (6-0) struck quickly after intermission when Kevin Rodriguez dribbled through a handful of defenders and blasted the ball into the net two minutes into the half to go ahead 1-0. Less than two minutes later Jesus Ponce passed to Marcus Montano on the wing tapped a cross back to Ponce for a header into the net for a 2-0 Manteca lead.

 “I passed it to Marcus and he crossed it,” Ponce said. “I was able to make some moves to get open and put it into the back of the net.”

 With 10 minutes left in the contest the Cougars (6-1-1) halved the lead when Joseph Mayorca made his way into the goalie box and tapped it into the net for what would be the final score of 2-1.

 “They played hard defense,” Mayorca said. “Thanks to our team I had an open opportunity and I was able to get the score.”

 Weston Ranch put the pressure on at the end of the game, but two key saves by Abdiel Chaquito – he had six in the game – kept the Cougars out of the net. He made those saves despite a severely swollen hand.

 “I hurt my hand at the end of the first half but then I kind of forgot about it,” Chaquito said. “And then I just reacted to what I normally react to.”

 Weston Ranch had a tough semifinal battle with Petaluma and won on penalty kicks 9-8 after being tied 1-1 at the end of regulation.

 “We were up 1-0 and then they came back,” Cougars coach Francisco Cisneros said. “And then I wanted to see how our guys would react.

 “Our goalie (Jose) Andrade made a stop on a penalty kick late that took the game to PKs.”

 In the 5-0 Manteca semifinal win over Riverbank, Kevin Rodriguez had a goal and two assists, Montano, Ponce, Jason Marvailla and Braulio Solis each had a goal and Brandon Landwehr an assist.

 “We came out pretty good against Riverbank,” Coenenberg said. “Historically they have been a pretty decent team but we were able to move the ball and capitalize on our opportunities.

 “It was good we could get a lot of our subs in to keep fresh legs for the championship game because it is always tough playing in this heat.”

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