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Buffaloes finish strong
Manteca tunes up for challenging start to VOL
Manteca’s Airenne Curry chips it ahead for a teammate to jump start an attacking run. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin
Manteca’s Justin Coenenberg had little reason to do much coaching as he sat on the bench for nearly the entire second half of Thursday’s non-league match against Florin.

Renee Munson, the Buffaloes’ assist leader for the season, was on the same bench.

His leading scorer going into the game, sophomore Airenne Curry, was playing sweeper.

Captain and midfielder Rileigh Mankin was the goalkeeper for the final 30 minutes.

Call it the calm before the storm.

The Buffaloes completed a successful preseason run with an easy 7-0 win over the visiting Panthers of Sacramento and scored six of their goals in the first half before putting it in cruise control.

Manteca (7-2) opens what is expected to be another competitive Valley Oak League season next week against perennial contender Sierra at home, and defending conference and Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV champion Sonora on the road.

“Being the last preseason game, I had hoped for it to be a little more competitive,” Coenenberg said, “but the good thing about it is we got to rest some people and gave other people opportunities (to play).”

His top players got to do damage before he began tinkering with the lineup.

Munson scored twice within the first 10 minutes, both off of through passes from Mankin. Mankin later blasted in her goal in the 34th minute to make it 5-0.

Crystal Fuentes contributed a goal and an assist to the blowout. Briana Flynn and Jessica Reeder added one goal apiece. Breanne Hatfield connected with Airenne Curry four minutes into the second half for the game’s final goal.

Manteca outshot the Panthers 21-0, as it recorded its fourth clean sheet of the season.

“Our goal in the second half was to play two-touch, keep the ball moving around,” Coenenberg said. “We weren’t trying to run up the score or anything, but it wasn’t like we weren’t trying to take advantage of our opportunities.”

The Buffaloes kick off the regular season Tuesday, 6:30 p.m. against their crosstown rival back at Guss Schmiedt Field.

Summerville 2, Weston Ranch 0

At Weston Ranch, the Cougars (1-6-1) competed well without starting goalkeeper Mayra Ambriz against undefeated Summerville (4-0).

“It’s the best game I’ve seen us play even though we lost,” Weston Ranch coach Carlos Gaspar said. “We just need to learn how to finish and capitalize on our opportunities.”

Weston Ranch will play in the Big Valley Tournament starting with Sacramento Country Day at 10 a.m.