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More challenges ahead after blanking defending champ
Meghan Wallace is held by Oakdale defender Kate Odom while trying to retain possession for East Union. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO

East Union is one step closer to capturing its first Valley Oak League girls soccer championship since 2001 after an impressive 4-0 win over defending champion Oakdale Monday at Dino Cunial Field.

Sixth-year head coach Jim Todd isn’t close to celebrating yet, not with so many steps still left to take on rough terrain.

His Lancers (4-0, 10-1-2 overall), who have already beaten reigning Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV titlist Sierra, head to Tracy on Wednesday to square off with a talented Kimball squad that is a serious threat to the crown.

Then there’s crosstown rival Manteca, which awaits next week. The Buffaloes (3-0-1, 9-3-2) trail East Union by two points in the standings.

“It’s a five-horse race in this league,” Todd said. “I don’t think that north of Fresno and south of Sacramento there’s a tougher league for girls soccer. We just have to stay on our game.”

So far, so good.

East Union has outscored its first four league opponents, 19-0.

A trio of sophomores did the damage offensively Monday. Meghan Wallace the first and last goalsin the 11th and 54th minutes.

Isela Rivera assisted two and buried one of her own after corralling nice through ball from freshman sister Isabella in the 30th minute. Just two minutes later, Isela hooked up with Regina Dias.

Oakdale goalie Jordin Altman did well to keep her team in the match in the early going, coming through with five of her six saves in the first half. She was replaced by freshman Mackenzie Weiglein (two saves) at the halfway point of the second half.

“We were a little nervous at first but we started to combine passes better as the game went on,” Wallace said.

Freshman goalkeeper Adrieanna Wood (four saves in 65 minutes) and reserve Ashley Almeida (two saves in 15 minutes) combined for the shutout with help from defenders Rebekah Bonds, Kianna Lamont and Rachel Sianez.

Oakdale (2-2, 8-5-3) didn’t take its first shot until the 26th minute but was eventually able to get its offense untracked. Late in the second half, Brittany Carpenter and Jill Kahler both bounced shots off the crossbar, and the Mustangs outshot East Union 8-7 in the 40-minute stanza. But the match belonged to the Lancers, who held an overall 19-12 advantage on shots attempts, 12-6 on goal.

“We’re psyched up,” Todd said. “This is a big week for us. We haven’t played on turf yet this year and we go to Kimball next. It should be another dog fight.”