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Inclement weather, soaked field keep score close
Manteca forward Vince Herrera loses his balance while surrounded by Spartan defenders on the soggy soccer field at Lathrop High Tuesday. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO
LATHROP — The sloppy conditions led to sloppy play at Lathrop High’s soccer field Tuesday.

All things considered, Manteca coach Justin Coenenberg was happy to get out of there with a 4-1 victory. The last time the two teams met, the Buffaloes won 10-1 under blue skies at Lincoln Park on Sept. 17.

Puddles halted attacking runs with players oftentimes outrunning the ball. Throw-ins weren’t pretty and at times illegal. Handballs were unavoidable, and sometimes ignored by the officials. And the slippery surface led to unintentional physical play.

“It was a definite equalizer,” Coenenberg said of the rain. “(Lathrop) had a couple more opportunities to score. It was sloppy. The ball took some crazy skips.
“It’s fun to play in games like that, but I think I got my fix for the year.”

The Buffaloes (3-7-1 Valley Oak League, 4-13-1 overall) got scoring contributions from four different players.

Manteca took the lead in the opening minutes when Robbie Geerlof converted on a penalty kick. Jesse Linares’ score, assisted by Marvin Foerster, made it 2-0 by halftime.

Victor Soto and Gonzalo Cerna each scored on assists from Dallas Vazquez and Florin Lambert, respectively. Wilmer Alvarez nailed a penalty kick in the final minute for Lathrop (0-11).

Manteca will next host Weston Ranch Thursday at Lincoln Park.

Central Valley 5, Weston Ranch 2
At Weston Ranch Tuesday, the host Cougars (3-7) managed to keep it close against first-place Central Valley (9-0-2) despite playing against a headwind in the first half.

David Molina scored with 10 minutes left in the opening half, cutting Central Valley’s lead to 2-1. But the Hawks ran away with it in the second half, with Weston Ranch’s Eddie Pacheco netting the game’s final goal.

“It’s an even match when both teams play in the same kind of weather, but the ball didn’t move,” Weston Ranch coach Carlos Gaspar said. “You can’t dribble or pass it.”
— Jonamar Jacinto