All-out hustle from Adaeze Nkwocha proved to be the difference for Manteca High’s soccer team Thursday.
In a makeup match at Kimball High of Tracy, Nkwocha’s hard work paid off in a pivotal 1-0 Valley Oak League victory.
The deciding play came in the 64th minute when a Kimball defender played the ball back to her keeper. Nkwocha applied pressure and forced the goalie to make a mistake, leading to an easy open-net goal.
Kimball (4-5-3, 12-6-3 overall), which took a significant hit to its postseason chances, held an 8-5 shots-on-goal advantage. Jimi Guibor had seven saves for Manteca.
“It was a battle the last time we played them (also a 1-0 win for Manteca), too,” Buffalo coach Justin Coenenberg said. “They have unbelievable team speed, which gives us problems in certain areas. We made some adjustments and did a real good job defensively.”
It was a big win for the Buffaloes (8-1-2, 14-4-3), who remain in the mix for the championship with three games left. East Union (11-0-1) is still comfortably ahead with two contests remaining on its schedule and can claim at least a piece of the title with a tie in Sonora next Monday.
Manteca hosts Lathrop tonight and will host its second annual Kicking for a Cure event. The Buffaloes then close out the regular season with a tough home match with Oakdale next Monday before heading to East Union Wednesday.
Ripon Christian 3, Delhi 1
The visiting Knights (8-4-1, 13-7-1) picked up a needed win in a match that had implications for both teams involved.
Ripon Christian jumped ahead early with two goals in the opening 10 minutes. Rachael Kinser struck first before Teagan Manus connected with Adri Van Groningen for the second score. Natalie Van Groningen booted in the insurance goal early in the scond half.
“This is the time of year to be peaking and I was very pleased because this was the girls’ best game of the season,” Ripon Christian coach Kevin Tameling said.