One finally made it through.
With Manteca goalie Cat McVeigh fending off one shot after another Thursday, it looked like the Buffaloes and visiting Sierra would battle to a scoreless tie. But in the 71st minute, Minty Doyle got a pass from near midfield to Timberwolves teammate Daisy Valencia, who worked her way behind the defenders and past a charging McVeigh for the lone goal in a 1-0 Valley Oak League win for the Timberwolves at Guss Schmiedt Field.
“It just happened all at once,” Valencia said. “I knew I had to sprint my hardest because we needed that goal.
“At first when I saw her coming out I was kind of scared. And then I thought I was going to bomb it over but then I took my time and thought about it.”
After just one shot on goal and no corner kicks in the first half, Manteca (6-3-1 VOL, 12-5-2 overall) had two shots on goal in the second half and four corner kicks but just could not find the net.
“They brought it to us the first half,” Buffaloes coach Justin Coenenberg said. “We made some adjustments at halftime and we kind of settled things down in the second half a little bit by stringing some passes together to create some opportunities.
“Unfortunately, a lot of times games are decided on one little breakdown and that is what this came down to.”
One of the reasons Manteca could not score was a stifling defensive charge led by Sierra halfback Alison Bitle.
“We just have to be faster and get to the ball first,” Bitle said. “We tried hardest – that’s what we do. We hustle.”
The cross-town rivalry definitely lived up to expectations.
“These are some exciting games,” Timberwolves coach Manuel Pires said. “As long as I have been coaching when you play your rival school these are the games I see the kids get the most excited for.
“This is a team that has been pretty strong – they are still the defending league and section champions – and to come over here to their house and get the win even makes it more special.”
Sierra finished (10-1, 19-2) with 23 shots to 15 for the Buffaloes with 13 of the Timberwolves’ shot being on frame to just three for Manteca. McVeigh had 12 saves.
“Cat is an outstanding goalie,” Coenenberg said. “She is fearless. She comes out for everything and is not afraid of anything. She always gives her best effort.
“Just like you see her play that’s how she practices every day. I just can’t say enough about Cat.”
Callie Crane had three saves for Sierra.
Sierra 3, Manteca 0
Alyssa McDonald tallied a goal and an assist for the Timberwolves.
Mia Guavara and Felicia La Quaglia each added a goal for Sierra and Monique Ochoa had an assist.
Daisi Morales posted five saves for the Timberwolves.