Manteca senior Abdiel Chaquito was nothing short of impressive during Thursday’s Valley Oak League showdown between the Valley Oak League’s defending co-champions Sierra at Guss Schmeidt Field.
The Buffaloes’ acrobatic goalkeeper finished with 17 saves as Manteca dropped Sierra 3-2 and improved to 1-1 in the VOL, 9-1-1 overall.
“The kid is just relentless,” Manteca head coach Justin Coenenberg said of Chaquito. “He’s a great kid and I’m happy he’s having a great season. He’s fun to watch, he makes unbelievable saves and he has great hands. I just can’t say enough good things about him.”
Chaquito finished with 11 second-half saves despite his team being outshot 23-11.
Sierra (1-1 VOL, 5-4-1 overall) outshot the Buffaloes in both halves, including 12-6 in the final 40 minutes.
Manteca junior forward Marcus Montano scored the game’s third goal that put his squad up 3-1 in the 60th minute off a Sal Arias assist.
Sierra cut its deficit to one during injury time after Sierra junior captain Juan Acosta scored on a penalty kick, which was Chaquito’s second goal surrendered.
The T’Wolves got another opportunity to tie it during injury time but couldn’t.
“(Chaquito) played a very good game,” Sierra head coach Joe Pires said. “He had a few saves that were outstanding. (Manteca) played a very good defensive game. We kept the pressure but we just couldn’t find the net.
“I give credit to my team. We passed the ball and did some good things, but they capitalized on our mistakes and their goalkeeper pretty much saved their game.”
Manteca took the 1-0 advantage in the 12th minute on a goal from Jason Maravilla, who scored again on the go-ahead goal to break a 1-1 knot.
The junior forward struck first with a backwards bicycle kick that barely snuck under the crossbar via an assist from Brandon Landwehr.
“I just saw the ball fall in front of me and I did what I could with it,” Maravilla said.
In the 22nd minute, Sierra senior captain Jesus Coronado tied the ball game after Henry Diaz found him with the assist.
Sierra’s goalkeeper Manny Garcia (six saves) was playing dangerously far away from the net and gambled big in the first half.
Maravilla made him pay.
He sunk a shot from 30-plus yards away while Garcia was about 20-25 yards away from the net that made it 2-1.
Manteca, who will visit Kimball Tracy on Tuesday, never trailed against Sierra.
The Buffaloes also scored two first-half goals (both from Maravilla) on just five shots.
On Tuesday the T’Wolves will host Oakdale, who opened up VOL play by defeating Manteca, 3-2 on Tuesday.
“I think we had the toughest first week out of anybody with Oakdale (and Sierra),” Coenenberg concluded. “We knew (Oakdale) was going to be tough, and these rivalry games are always tough.
“We still haven’t played our best soccer yet, but we battled and that’s what it takes to come away with the win.”