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GOLDEN GLOVES

Manteca goalie Chiquito snags VOL MVP award

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GOLDEN GLOVES

Valley Oak League MVP Abdiel Chiquito secures the ball in the air for Manteca High in its rivalry match at Sierra on Oct. 15.

Photo by WAYNE THALLANDER/


POSTED November 21, 2013 1:56 a.m.

Abdiel Chiquito was certain he would not get snubbed, not for a second straight year.

The usually-unflappable goalie was crushed when boys soccer head coach Justin Coenenberg announced the All-Valley Oak League selections to the team during Manteca High’s fall sports social on Tuesday. Once again, his name was not called.

“I didn’t get all-league last year, so I was real upset when coach didn’t give me (an all-league patch),” Chiquito said.

Turns out coach deked him in a way that opposing strikers could not.

Coenenberg chose instead to introduce him as the VOL’s Most Valuable Player when introducing the team’s major award winners in front of the rest of the school’s fall sports athletes in the cafeteria.

“It was a big surprise,” the 5-foot-5 Chiquito said. “I never thought a goalie could get MVP. I’ve had that thought in my head before, but I just couldn’t imagine a goalie being the MVP. I would have been okay with Goalie of the Year, or something.”

Coenenberg was ecstatic that other coaches saw what he did in the diminutive keeper. Chiquito allowed 19 goals in 14 league games (1.36 average) while recording four shutouts. Overall, he kept the sheets clean eight times and averaged seven saves and 1.27 goals against.

His numbers are impressive considering he backed an inexperienced back line and was under duress for much of the competitive league season. Chiquito helped lead Manteca to a co-championship as a junior, and a runner-up finish this past season. The Buffaloes were 8-3-3 in league, 17-4-4 overall and eliminated in the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs.

“We wouldn’t have finished where we finished without him,” Coenenberg said. “He made so many critical saves for us in big games. I have never seen such a big heart in a little body. Unfortunately, he plays a position where size makes a difference, but with him it’s not a factor.”

Fellow Buffaloes joining Chiquito on the All-VOL first team were junior striker Marcus Montano (22 goals, 11 assists), sophomore attacking midfielder Kevin Rodriguez (13 goals, 8 assists) and defender Ramon Rodriguez.

Third-place Weston Ranch (7-4-3, 17-6-4) reaped the benefits of a benchmark season in which it reached the playoffs for the first time in its 10-year varsity history. The Cougars, in fact, made it to the SJS Division IV finals, where they lost 3-2 to Liberty Ranch last Saturday.

Converted striker Hector Maldonado (14 goals) keyed Weston Ranch’s late-season run to the postseason. He scored nine goals and two assists in the Cougars’ final seven league matches, a stretch in which the team went 5-0-2. Sophomore Joseph Mayorca (22 goals, 7 assists) and defender Victor Munoz were also named to the first team.

Talented senior forward Bryan Ramos (22 goals, 7 assists) and defender Rigo Gomez are first-team representatives for fourth-place Sierra (6-4-4, 10-7-5). Lathrop (4-6-4, 10-9-4) managed to get three players — forward Kevin Alvarez, midfieder Drew Erwin and defender Ramiro Ceja — on the first team.

League champion Oakdale had four first-team selections, and Alfredo Quiroga was voted Coach of the Year.

First-team snubs were inevitable because of the parity in the VOL. Manteca’s Jason Maravilla (14 goals, 5 assists), Weston Ranch freshman Francisco Garcia (9 goals, 7 assists) and Sierra’s Juan Acosta (12 goals, 11 assists) and Jesus Coronado (9 goals, 12 assists) were arguably four of the VOL’s best who settled for spots on the second team.

Other second-team honorees from area: East Union defender Mario Zuniga and midfielder Jaime Castaneda; Manteca defender Carlos Belmonte; Sierra forwards Cesar Martinez and Henry Diaz; and Weston Ranch midfielder Kevin Medina.

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