Cristian Perez was dominant in East Union’s final two Valley Oak League games, and it was a sign of things to come for the junior striker and the rest of the Lancers.
He was voted as the All-VOL Most Valuable Player after scoring 13 goals and six assists in nine of 12 league matches. East Union (7-1-4, 17-3-8 overall) finished second behind Weston Ranch (9-1-2, 12-2-6) but went on a historic run in the postseason.
Perez factored into the scoring in six of the Lancers’ seven playoff matches, leading the club to its first Sac-Joaquin Section and California Interscholastic Federation NorCal championships. Overall, he racked up 23 goals and 10 assists for an area-best 56 points.
In the final two games of the regular season, he torched Kimball for two goals and two assists in a 5-0 win, then recorded his lone hat trick of the year in a 4-0 rout of rival Manteca.
Four other Lancers made the All-VOL first team, while five was selected out of Weston Ranch. Francisco Cisneros was named Coach of the Year for leading the Ranch to its third VOL crown.
The Cougars were anchored by a strong defense that recorded five clean sheets in league play including three consecutive to end the regular season.
Leading the way were fourth-year goalkeeper Francisco Vega (4.2 saves per game), twin brother Jesus Vega (five goals, five assists) at defensive mid and defender Armando Garcia (three goals, five assists) — all first-team selections. Fellow Weston Ranch seniors Bryan Rodriguez (11 goals, four assists) and scoring leader Elvin Bolanos (14 goals, 10 assists) also made all-league.
The all-senior quartet of forward Noe Martinez (eight goals, 14 assists), midfielder Alberto Gomez (three goals, four assists), midfielder Alex Arroyo (15 goals, 11 assists) and center back Jonathan Bautista (three assists) represent East Union on the first team.
Fourth-place Sierra (6-5-1, 10-9-2) has three all-league players in senior forward Adib Guedoir (17 goals, six assists), senior midfielder Tristan Gonzalez (eight goals, six assists) and junior midfielder Gerardo Magaña (eight goals, five assists). Junior midfielder Alex Herrera is the lone first-team player for Manteca (3-9, 5-12).
Weston Ranch has four on the All-VOL second team: senior midfielder Kevin Urrutia Hernandez, sophomore midfielder Aaron Silva, junior defender Mauro Valdez and senior midfielder Jose Estrada Hernandez.
Sierra’s second-team honorees are junior forward Jordan Shinn, senior defender Gabriel Cervantes and junior defender Idelfonso Bettencourt. Manteca also has three in forward Brian Sanchez, midfielder Luis Covarrubias and defender Angel Baltazar, while junior midfielder Samuel Diaz and junior keeper Fernando Ambriz got the nod for East Union.
Honorable-mention players from Manteca Unified schools: East Union’s Jesus Montanez, Gabriel Gutierrez, Julian Irogoyen and Manuel Garcia; Weston Ranch’s Angel Rico, Jeffrey Miranda, Dannick Hernandez and Angel Pantoja; Sierra’s Audie Garza, Fabian Barba and Alejandro Paz; and Manteca’s Joseph Poulsen.
MVP — Cristian Perez, East Union, Jr.
Coach of the Year — Francisco Cisneros, Weston Ranch
First team — GK: Francisco Vega, Weston Ranch, Sr. DEF: Jonathan Bautista, East Union, Sr.; Armando Garcia, Weston Ranch, Sr.; Brandon Martinez, Oakdale, Sr.. MF: Alex Arroyo, East Union, Sr.; Caden Frazee, Oakdale, Jr.; Alberto Gomez, East Union, Sr.; Tristan Gonzalez, Sierra, Sr.; Bryan Rodriguez, Weston Ranch, Sr.; Jesus Vega, Weston Ranch, Sr.; Gerardo Magaña, Sierra, Jr.; Alex Herrera, Manteca, Jr. FWD: Adib Guedoir, Sierra, Sr.; Noe Martinez, East Union, Sr.; Kaleb McDonald, Oakdale, Jr.; Elvin Bolanos, Weston Ranch, Jr.
Second team — GK: Fernando Ambriz, East Union, Jr.; Riley Blount, Oakdale, Jr.; Peter Fogarty, Central. DEF: Angel Baltazar, Manteca, Sr.; Idelfonso Bettencourt, Sierra, Jr.; Gabriel Cervantes, Sierra, Sr.; Jose Estrada Hernandez, Weston Ranch, Sr.; Mauro Valdez, Weston Ranch, Jr.; Matt Akulow, Central Catholic. MF: Evan Corsiglia, Central Catholic; Luis Covarrubias, Manteca, Jr. Samuel Diaz, East Union, Jr.; David Gallegos, Central Catholic; Aaron Silva, Weston Ranch, So.; Kevin Urrutia, Weston Ranch, Sr. FWD: Brian Sanchez, Manteca; Jordan Shinn, Sierra, Jr.; Mario Jauregui, Central Catholic.
Honorable mention — Central Catholic: Gavin Ryan. East Union: Javier Montanez, Gabriel Gutierrez, Julian Irigoyen, Manuel Garcia. Kimball: Adam Tavares. Manteca: Joseph Poulsen. Oakdale: Isaac Valero, Alfie Harris, Fernando Blanco. Sierra: Audie Garza, Fabian Barba, Alejandro Paz. Weston Ranch: Angel Rico, Jeffrey Miranda, Dannick Hernandez, Angel Pantoja.