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Buffaloes fend off Oakdale to protect first-place lead
Mantecas Ivy Benson celebrates with Leah Manuleleua after scoring the first goal Wednesday against visiting Oakdale. Manuleleua added another goal in the first half, and the Buffaloes held on for a 2-1 victory. - photo by HIME ROMERO/The Bulletin

Barely three minutes into the game, Ivy Benson fought through a pack of Oakdale defenders for a goal, and midway through the first half Leah Manuleleua added a second goal. The Mustangs could not close the gap in a 2-1 Valley Oak League win for the first-place Buffaloes at Guss Schmiedt Field.  

When asked about shooting in a crowd, Benson said, “It is kind of a quick decision. It is hard to know if you should shoot it or look for another opportunity when there are people around you. 

“It was pretty open, so I just went for it.”

Manuleleua outraced her defender for around 30 yards before bending the ball past the Oakdale goalie for a 2-0 lead.

“I was going for it and I beat the girl guarding me to it,” Manuleleua said.” I jumped over her and I was going to toss negative but I shot right around the goalie.”  

In the 60th minute Krissy Lolonis scored for Oakdale (5-5-2 VOL, 12-7-4 overall) to halve the Manteca lead. 

“We had a 2-0 lead but I was never comfortable with that,” Buffaloes coach Justin Coenenberg said. “All it takes is one mistake and we made a mistake and that puts it at 2-1 and totally changes the game. 

“We just needed to calm down and make sure we kept our heads. We wanted to possess the ball and not just panic. I thought we did that for the most part.”

Both teams had a ball bounce off the crossbar in the second half and Manteca missed two open-net opportunities.

“We had a crossbar and a couple of open nets,” Coenenberg said. “That is something we will continue to work on – finishing and capitalizing on opportunities.”

After taking seven shots on goal in the first half, Manteca (10-1-1, 19-2-1) had just two in the second half to three for Oakdale. 

“The second half was pretty even back and forth,” Mustangs coach Alfred Quiroga said. “We could have tied but we hit the crossbar.

“I am very proud of my girls. We never gave up.”

Ashlee Miller had six saves for the Buffaloes.


Manteca 6, Oakdale 2

Alejandra Delgadillo had the first three Buffaloes goals.

Niya Silva, Marlen Lopez and Alma Gonzalez each added a goal for Manteca.