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Hat off to Morris, Buffaloes
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WESTON RANCH – Sammie Morris was in her domain on Thursday.

Manteca’s senior forward record a hat trick during a 5-0 win over Weston Ranch, still looking for its second Valley Oak League victory.

Meanwhile, Manteca improved to 5-2 in league, 12-4 overall.

“I don’t think we played the best we’ve ever played,” said Morris, who also tallied two assists. “Usually it takes us a couple of minutes to get it together and actually play, but this time it took a little longer. I don’t know why.”

Perhaps it was a hangover from a critical 4-1 loss against crosstown rival East Union earlier in the week.

“I think we were still down a little bit from the (loss Tuesday),” Manteca head coach Justin Coenenberg said. “It seemed like there was a little carry over there at the beginning of the game. It took us a little while to score the first one.”

Weston Ranch (1-6, 2-7 overall) was competitive defensively, especially for the first 20 minutes. Morris, however, opened the scoring with two goals before halftime.

Manteca freshman Leah Manuleleua didn’t have a bad game, either.

 The Buffaloes’ midfielder/forward assisted Morris’ second goal of the opening half after finding her open down the seam.

Weston Ranch goalie Leslie Mayorca tried valiantly to slow the senior-freshman tandem, but she couldn’t do it alone.

Under duress throughout, Mayorca finished with a game-high 16 saves.

“(Mayorca) did a good job,” Coenenberg said. “She’s good at taking away angles and creating some difficult opportunities for us. She had some good saves.”

In the second half, Morris assisted Manuleleua on a score to make it 3-0. She scored the fourth goal for the Buffaloes, as well, this time off a corner kick from Avigail Mayen.

Morris scored Manteca’s final goal, finishing a cross from senior Jasmine Odell.

“You don’t score goals by yourself,” said Morris, who is headed to Humboldt State in the fall to play soccer. “You have everybody else around you helping you score and taking shots so you’re there to follow. I mean, I do score goals, but that’s my job.”

Weston Ranch was outshot 26-8 by Manteca, who host Kimball on Tuesday at 4 p.m.

The Cougars travel to Sonora Tuesday.

 “We started knocking the ball around, creating opportunities and putting the ball in the back of the net,” Coenenberg surmised. “I ended up being pleased in the second half with how we played.”

Sonora 3, Lathrop 0

Lathrop fell to 0-6 in the VOL, 4-11-2 overall following a road loss to Sonora.

Sonora (2-3, 5-4 overall) scored a goal early to set the tone. Lathrop misfired on all nine of its shots. Goalie Callia Morales-Linnell finished with nine saves and broke up two breakaways.

Lathrop welcomes defending VOL champion East Union on Tuesday.