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Buffs attack comes alive
SOC--Manteca-Sierra pic 2
Manteca midfielder Lejla Pepic shields off Sierras McKenna Doyle in a Valley Oak League match at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium on Wednesday. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin

Manteca busted out of its recent scoring slump Wednesday with a 5-2 victory at Sierra’s Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium, and with four regular-season contests remaining it’s a safe bet that the prolific Buffaloes will break the 100-goal mark for the first time in program history.

They had several opportunities to do so late Wednesday, but coach Justin Coenenberg was glad to see the offense get back on track against a squad enjoying its best stretch of the season. Manteca’s top three scorers carried the load on the attacking third, as Leah Manuleleua struck for three goals, Lejla Pepic added one to go with three assists and freshman Natalie Duran chipped in one of each. Kaleigh Doyle accounted for both of Sierra’s goals.

Manteca (7-2-1 Valley Oak League, 16-3-1 overall) now has 99 goals for the season, tying the program record set back in 2010. The Buffs weren’t shut out all season until their last two contests, 2-0 and 1-0 losses to league-leading East Union and fifth-place Kimball.

“I think all-around everybody was getting involved offensively,” Manteca coach Justin Coenenberg said. “We were much more dynamic, we were making good runs and just getting after it. We were being aggressive once again.

“We had a little dry spell there for a couple of games and we knew we needed to get out of it and we wanted to do it tonight. They rose to the occasion and hopefully we can start rolling again.”

Sierra (2-6-2, 5-12-3) more than held its own in the opening minutes, continuing its strong play of late. The Timberwolves were competitive in their previous outing, a 2-0 defeat to East Union, and battled postseason hopefuls Kimball and Central Catholic to 2-2 draws just two weeks ago.

The momentum shifted drastically after the Buffaloes were awarded a penalty kick in the 14th minute when absorbed a hard challenge inside the penalty box. Sierra keeper Emma Broderick got fingertips on Pepic’s PK attempt, but the ball deflected off the right post and rolled past the goal line.

Manteca later registered two staggering goals in the final three minutes of the half, both mid-range blasts from the strong-legged Manueleua.

“We lost mark of their top player and she can shoot the ball from anywhere,” Sierra coach Manuel Pires said. “When you give her that much time she’s going to find the back of the net. She was on the mark today.”

Sierra showed some fight early in the second half. Doyle scored in the opening minute, punctuating a nice combination sequence with sister McKenna. Doyle headed in her second goal off a nice cross from Brooke McKenzie in the 54th minute to make it 4-2. The Buffaloes quickly answered with the knockout blow, as Duran capitalized on a nice through ball from Pepic.

 “We played pretty well the other day but today we definitely took a step backwards,” Pires said. “I thought we started the first 10 or so minutes of the game pretty well. We were moving the ball around and after that Manteca pretty much took over the game.

“I’m starting to get some girls back (from injuries) but they’re not back to game speed yet so it makes it kind of tough.”

Sarah Vegas and Daisy Hernandez each scored for Manteca in the frosh-soph match, which ended in a 2-2 tie.

East Union 3,
Weston Ranch 0

The Lancers (10-0-0, 13-0-0) won as expected at Weston Ranch, but the margin of victory comes as a surprise.

All three of their goals were posted in the second half and came from Elena Rivera (47th minute), Bella Cardenas (54th) and Anna Wood (65th). East Union previously drubbed the winless Cougars, 7-0.

“We didn’t play that well today, just well enough to win,” East Union coach Victor Polanco said. “We dominated we just couldn’t score because we kept sending it right to the goalie’s chest.”

Oakdale 10, Lathrop 0

Visiting Oakdale (6-1-2, 12-5-3) was powered by hat tricks from Ashley Arnett and Madison Feurstein, who each also contributed two assists.

Lathrop (1-9-0, 5-15-1) goalies Cassandra Flores and Callia Morales-Linnell racked up seven and five saves, respectively.

The Spartans were able to come away with a tie in the frosh-soph game, getting a goal from Taylor Rose.

Southern League

Ripon Christian 4,
Waterford 1

In Ripon, the Knights (8-0-0, 11-6-0) gave up their first goal in league play as Waterford’s Jolene Vanderstoel cashed in on a penalty kick that was awarded by a handball in the penalty area.

Emily Manes booted in two of Ripon Christian’s goals, while Abby Buitrago and Alex Erdelatz each had a goal and an assist. Cynthhia Van Vliet added an assist, and goalie Bryanna Heida collected eight saves.

“Waterford (5-4-0, 6-6-1) played a strong game,” Ripon Christian coach Kevin Tameling said. “The score is not indicative of how close a game it was. Fortunately, our team was able to capitalize on our chances. I was very pleased what we scored in a variety of ways.”