STOCKTON — There are only so many was to score a goal, and as just a freshman, Lathrop’s Kassandra Ceja may have come up with a new one Thursday night.
Ten minutes into the game with host Weston Ranch, Ceja lined up a direct kick from 20 yards out and timed her kick to go under the wall of jumping Cougars, finding the net for her first of five goals in a 6-0 Valley Oak League win for the Spartans.
“I just want to make a difference,” Ceja said. “I am really grateful that they are feeding me the ball.
Assisting Ceja on three of her goals was Leanna Mom.
“I just saw her open,” Mom said of Ceja. “I would just tip it over to her and she would fire the ball.”
Like most local fields this season, Weston Ranch’s was not in the best of shape.
“This field was pretty bad,” Lathrop coach Jose Montes said. “But it didn’t affect us too much. Our goal was to come away with the win.
“It was ugly playing – you can’t do much on a lot of the field – but we focused on finishing the shots.”
The Spartans (3-5 VOL, 3-7 overall) scored three goals in each half with Olivia Vasquez notching an assist to go with Mom’s three. Jessica McNair got the last goal of the game with six minutes left off of an assist by Cydney Garcia.
When the two teams met earlier in the season Weston Ranch (0-9, 1-12-1) gave up six goals in the first half on the way to a 10-0 loss.
“This was big improvement from the last time we played Lathrop,” Cougars coach Aviette Brooks said. “But it has been rough this season with so many injuries.”
Weston Ranch goalie Aliyah Guerrero was unable to play the second half as a result of a collision late in the first half. Late in the game the Cougars lost another player to injury and finished the game with nine players.
“The girls played so well today,” Brooks said. “Considering how we did against them last time we stepped up, especially once we lost our keeper.”
Weston Ranch 3, Lathrop 2
Paola Aguilar scored two goals for the Cougars and Crystal Chavez added one.
Emily Rubalcava and Karina Lopez each had a goal for the Spartans.