Ilena Rivera’s hat trick powered East Union to a 3-0 win at Central Catholic on Wednesday, and the victory clinches a second-straight outright title in the Valley Oak League for the Lancers.
They now have the luxury of taking it easy in the final week of the regular season. Why risk injuries before defending a Sac-Joaquin Section championship, right?
“Oh, no, no, no,” East Union coach Victor Polanco said. “We want those six points.”
Getting those six points require wins over Oakdale and Manteca — two playoff-qualifying teams. Central Catholic (5-4-3 VOL, 7-4-4 overall) sits in the fourth spot and must fend off Kimball next week to seize final available berth. That is no easy task with Manteca and Oakdale left on the Raiders’ schedule.
Now 15-0 overall, Polanco said the ultimate goal for East Union is to go undefeated all season after its 2014 run was marred by a tie with Oakdale, which visits Dino Cunial Field next Monday.
Rivera now has 30 goals on the season after scoring in the 20th, 38th and 45th minutes. She created her own shot on the first one and blew past two defenders to put the Lancers on the board. Rivera doubled EU’s lead with a well-placed free kick late in the first half. Then early in the second, sister Isabella set up her head shot with a corner-kick cross.
Central Catholic played on its heels throughout and had two girls marking Ilena Rivera for most of the game.
“They put nine girls by the 18 (yard line) and had only one forward in the first half,” Polanco said. “In the second half they opened up a little bit but we pretty much played on their side of the field for the whole game.”
The Lancers also dominated the frosh-soph contest, 10-1.
Manteca 3, Oakdale 1
In Oakdale, the Buffaloes (9-2-1, 18-3-1) leapfrogged Oakdale in the standings and hold a two-point lead for second place. The Mustangs (8-2-2, 14-6-3) previously tied Manteca 2-2 but held a two-goal halftime lead.
“We were ready to go from the opening whistle,” Manteca coach Justin Coenenberg said. “Last time we gave away that first half, and you can’t give up a half to a good team like Oakdale. We were more aggressive today, winning 50-50 balls and communicating real well. We were firing on all cylinders.”
This time it was Manteca ahead 2-0 by the break. Leah Manuleleua drew first blood in the eighth minute, and in the 27th she assisted Samantha Klump. Ashlee Miller scored the insurance goal in the middle of the second half. Logan Lougero accounted for Oakdale’s lone goal.
Carly Morrish scored in the frosh-soph game, but Manteca was defeated, 2-1.
Sierra 6, Lathrop 0
Goalie Emma Broderick got to see action on the field and made the most of it by capping the final score with a goal. Sierra (3-7-2, 6-13-3) led comfortably at halftime, 3-0.
“Everybody played, especially the seniors,” Sierra coach Manuel Pires said. “It was overall a good game for us.”
Despite the loss, Lathrop coach Gabe Padilla was pleased with the effort put forth by the Spartans (1-11, 5-17-1). Keeper Cassandra Flores accumulated 14 saves, and Padilla praised defenders Kim Vega, Callia Morales-Linnel and Nerildy Olivares.
“The girls played with some fire, fight and energy tonight,” Padilla said. “I haven’t seen that out of them in a long time.”