Clarence Goes’ next game as East Union High boys soccer coach will be his last, as he made his retirement public at the end of the regular season.
It will also be the program’s first in a Sac-Joaquin Section playoff final.
The Lancers, fresh off Thursday’s 5-2 upset of Central Valley, will square off with defending SJS Division-IV champion Vista del Lago of Folsom today in Stockton. The game will start around noon at Lincoln High.
In the other semifinal match Thursday, Vista del Lago (17-0-1) churned out a 5-0 win over Sierra, which went 2-0-1 in three regular-season matches against East Union (15-7-2).
The Eagles are rated the third best team in California by MaxPreps.com and are led by standout forward Tim Fairley, whose 31 goals ranks him No. 4 among the section’s top scorers. He has five goals in two postseason contests, three coming against Sierra. Mark LePage (12 goals, five assists) assisted all of Fairley’s goals.
Jake Murphy (14 goals, seven assists) and Alex Ford (nine, seven) are other scoring threats for Vista del Lago.
As its record indicates, Vista is on a big roll this season. It hasn’t given up a goal since beating Sierra Valley Conference foe River City 7-1 and is on a five-match shutout streak since. Its only “blemish” of the year is a 4-4 nonleague draw with Granite Bay, which is competing in the Division-II finale today.
East Union is champion of the Valley Oak League for the first time since 1993, which was also the last year that the Lancers qualified for the playoffs until last season.
They got off to a rough start in nonleague, losing four of their first five including losses to Division-I playoff qualifiers Turlock and Chavez. Other nonleague losses include West and Ceres — West reached the Division-I semifinals, while Ceres fell to Sierra in the opening round of the Division-IV playoffs.
The Lancers, though, are on a nice run having won seven in succession following a 2-2 tie to Sierra on Oct. 10.