Emotions can play a big factor when crosstown rivals clash.
Such was the case of Wednesday’s Valley Oak League faceoff between Manteca High and Sierra High.
“I thought we came out flat, especially in the first half – that’s usually not a case for us in a game like this,” said Buffaloes coach Justin Coenenberg following his team’s 3-1 loss at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium.
By contrast, the Timberwolves displayed passion and aggressiveness, according to their coach Joe Pires “Everybody off of that,” he added.
Sierra (2-0, 8-5) took a 2-0 lead. Junior forward Eddie Aguilar fired a shot from straight away, giving his team a 1-0 edge in the ninth minute.
The Timberwolves struck again in the 20th minute. Junior midfielder David Lopez took a nice feed from teammate Athen Gonsalves, converting from the perimeter.
The Buffaloes (0-2, 3-6) had two near goals. Josh Kong had a breakaway thwarted by Vargas, who kicked the ball out of bounds.
Shortly before the intermission, Ramon Ramos fired a cross over to Raul Marquez, who saw his header that was eventually cradled into the hands of Sierra goalie David Soldwisch.
Even with the early lead, Pires wasn’t comfortable at all.
“The (2-0) score was deceiving,” he said, knowing that Buffaloes were capable of scoring at any time.
Pires added: “Manteca has some very good, skilled players.”
Before that happened, Sierra made it 3-0 in the 57th minute. Joel Lemus, a junior forward, converted a corner kick by Gonsalves, who notched his second assist of the game,
Some three minutes later, Manteca came up with a goal. Junior forward Aron Navarette delivered off a pass from Alexis Ochoa.
After that, the Sierra defense was there to help out goalie Dave Soldwisch, who racked up five saves.
The Timberwolves outshot Manteca, 16-9.
“In the second half, we did a better job in creating scoring opportunities,” said Coenenberg, whose team finds itself in the unfamiliar territory of being winless this early in league play.
He hopes to change that.
“We’re work on a few things – we hope it will make a difference in turning our season around,” Coenenberg said.
To reach reporter Vince Rembulat, email email@example.com.