The best got a little better on Wednesday.
Already the all-time leading scorer for Manteca High, Leah Manuleleua got career goal No. 100 in the 73rd minute of a 2-0 win over visiting Central Catholic of Modesto, knocking the Raiders out of a first-place tie as the first half of the Valley Oak League campaign winds to a close.
Manuleleua and Leijla Pepic took turns assisting each other for the two Manteca goals. Pepic got the first one off of a long cross from Manuleleua in the 54th minute
“We were running a fast offense and Leah got the ball and she turned and flicked it to me,” Pepic said of her goal. “It felt just right off of my shoe.”
Late in the game Pepic got a through ball to Manuleleua and she did the rest, juking the goalie and bending it off of the far post and into the net.
“I got a through ball and I was going to take her in but I was at a bad angle so I just cut it back and hit it,” Manuleleua said. “It bounced off the post and it went in.”
The two teams battled to a tie after 40 minutes with Manteca (5-0-1 VOL, 14-1-1 overall) outshooting Central Catholic (4-1-1, 8-2-1) 11-5 in the first half.
“Time of possession helps, but it doesn’t win you games,” Buffaloes coach Justin Coenenberg said. “You have to put it in the back of the net. We had our opportunities.
“I was happy the way the girls played. We out-possessed them. We played hard and we won 50-50 balls like we wanted to. Our defense stayed strong the entire game. Overall I was really happy.”
Manteca kept Raiders goalie Makenzie Perez busy all night, shooting 22 times and putting 14 shots on goal with Perez making 12 saves as well as twice coming out of the box to make slide tackles to stop breakaways for the Buffaloes.
“It was phenomenal,” Central Catholic coach Dalton Duval said of the play of Perez. “She had some great saves as well some big one-on-one saves.
“She kept us in it and gave us a chance.”
Manteca goalie Ashlee Miller went from a field player to goalie this year, and while she did not have the number of saves that Miller had, some of her four saves were phenomenal.
“She played her first three years for us as a field player,” Coenenberg said. “She was a little rusty at the beginning of the year but she is improving every single practice and every single game. That is going to be huge for us.”
Sierra 2, Kimball 1
All of the scoring was done in the second half at Kimball (2-4, 4-5-5), with freshmen Jadyn Shinn and Yasmin Ballew doing the damage for third-place Sierra (3-0-2, 14-0-4).
Emma Broderick and McKenna Doyle were credited with assists. Broderick was also the Timberwolves’ goalie for the first half.
Oakdale 4, East Union 2
Visiting Oakdale (3-2, 10-4-2) scored in the opening minute and never looked back. Madison Feuerstein had a hat trick for the Mustangs.
Rosalia Ravelo and Jenna Zuniga accounted for East Union’s goals. The defending champion Lancers (3-3, 9-4) has lost two straight in league for the first time since 2009.
Weston Ranch 2,
In Stockton, Weston Ranch (1-5, 6-7) added to its program-best win total thanks to first-half goals from Vanessa Vega and Lilliana Lomeli. Elizabeth Ortiz and Carmen Robinson had the assists.
Central Catholic 0
Daisy Barajas had two goals and an assist for the Buffaloes.
Alma Gonzalez added a goal and an assist for Manteca and Madi Hutchison had an assist.
Weston Ranch 6,
Paola Aguila recorded a hat trick, and Pitlalli Negrete added two goals as the Cougars picked up their second VOL victory. Selena Landin also had a goal.