Isela Rivera was on the attack from the first whistle, getting her first shot on goal 17 seconds into the contest. The sophomore standout never let up, racking up a pair of assists in East Union’s Valley Oak League win over visiting Sierra Friday.
Rivera, seemingly unaffected by the constant downpour that slopped the field, found teammate Regina Dias screaming down the middle of the pitch, igniting the Lancers with a 1-0 lead. Rivera was far from finished, impressing even more with her second assist, a header off a Madison Meyer corner kick to junior Kayla Lamont for a quick 2-0 Lancer lead.
“It is always a big rivalry between Sierra and us,” Rivera said. “But I just try to take it as another game. We all came in just thinking about playing hard for each other and working as a team.
“That’s exactly what we did today and we looked good.”
The Lancers clearly looked the part of the superior club, asserting themselves early with the two first half goals. East Union kept the pressure on Sierra throughout the first half, constantly attacking the Sierra half of the pitch with Rivera and Dias’ nonstop aggression.
“I think when Regina and I work hard everybody else works hard,” Rivera said. “Once they see how hard we’re pushing and how hard we’re working it definitely picks up the team.
“It gets us intense and that’s how we like to play.”
The Timberwolves were simply unable to get anything going on the offensive end. The first half held just four legitimate scoring opportunities for the Sierra and even with a more inspired effort in the final 40 minutes, the Timberwolves were only able to muster a couple of scares for Lancer keeper Adrieanna Wood.
“We didn’t create enough opportunities,” Sierra head coach Manuel Pires said. “I liked how we responded and played better in the second half, but it was obvious they were more prepared to play than we were. They were able to get those quick goals and that was the difference in the game.
“We knew this was going to be tough and that they had a talented team and I pleased with the way we responded, but I don’t like the end result.”
Sierra is the defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV champion, so anything earned this season will have to go through the Timberwolves. East Union definitely took a step in the right direction, but it is the beginning of a long VOL season.
“This was huge,” East Union head coach Jim Todd said. “This was the pinnacle game of the season so far. That is just an incredible program. Their program is legendary, so it is always a battle. We worked a lot on controlling the ball, making good passes and one to two touches, and it was just amazing.”
East Union will try and make it three straight VOL wins when they travel to Weston Ranch Wednesday, while Sierra will try and get its situation figured out when they host the Manteca Buffaloes.