WESTON RANCH – It did not take long for Lathrop to get things going, netting its first goal in the fourth minute. Then Lathrop went lethargic as Weston Ranch rallied and never let up en route to landing its first Valley Oak League win Thursday, 3-2.
The Cougars trailed in the game’s opening minutes but turned the tide in the 17th on a goal from Lizbeth Ortiz. The Cougars were a new club after that goal, and unfortunately for Lathrop so were the Spartans.
After working the ball around with ease, passing to streaking players and wining 50-50 balls Lathrop went flat. The scoring opportunities weren’t being converted and Weston Ranch’s long deep passes left Lathrop in pursuit of an open forward time and time again.
“We’ve been doing it, playing awesome for the first half hour or so and then they just do a drop right before halftime,” Lathrop head coach Gabe Padilla said. “It just hurts us going into that second half.
“Something happens in those last 10 minutes where they get down on themselves.”
The Cougars sensed it and went for the kill.
Weston Ranch netted the second score in the 54th minute, gathering up a beautiful shot by Adriana Rodriguez that hit the cross bar and getting the put back from Crystal Hernandez. Weston Ranch would temporarily lose the lead when Lathrop connected two minutes later on a Sierra Downum score.
Lathrop would surrender the deciding goal in the 73rd minute when a chaotic scramble in the keeper’s box saw Weston Ranch’s Esmerelda Silva force a shot through a group of four players from her back. There wasn’t an instant signal from the referee, leaving a brief moment of uncertainty before Weston Ranch’s club erupted in celebration.
“For us, this year has been hard,” Weston Ranch head coach Pedro Ponce said. “We only have four girls returning from varsity, four from JV and the rest of our team is new. I though Liz played good. She is one of our defenders too, but we decided to put her up to forward today.
“I think she did pretty well.”
Weston Ranch was playing without the services of two starters who had a commitment to the Weston Ranch Every 15-minute mock-disaster production.
East Union 4, Oakdale 1
Isela Rivera had no interest in East Union losing back-to-back games, breaking loose for a four-goal clinic in the Lancers’ win at Oakdale.
Oakdale made the first move, going up 1-0 in the 11th minute, but Rivera took notice, tying the game up 1-1 a minute later and continuing the trend with scores in the 16th and 19th minutes too.
Rivera wasn’t done, notching her fourth goal in the second half on a beautiful, length of the pitch assist from Erica daSilva.
“This was the best team we’ve played this season,” East Union head coach Jim Todd said. “But we turned back the clock and played really well.
“This was a good rebound from a lackluster effort against Kimball.”
East Union will host Weston Ranch on Tuesday.