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Buffs cap nonleague with win on new field
Manteca High forward Sialei Manuleleua tries to fight off Bear Creeks Allison Chase on a breakaway during a nonleague contest at Guss Schmiedt Field Monday. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO

Manteca High’s girls soccer team finally got to play on its own familiar turf.

Well, the turf wasn’t all too familiar.

The Buffaloes got to test out the new, lush grass of Guss Schmiedt Field Monday when they dispatched Bear Creek of Stockton, 2-0.

Manteca, which wraps up a difficult nonleague schedule with a 6-2-1 record, had to play its previous home games and hosted its own Buffalo Cup tournament at Woodward Park.

“I put together our toughest (nonleague) schedule ever to test the girls,” Manteca coach Justin Coenenberg said. “We had our highs and lows, but overall I’m pretty happy with how we did in the preseason. I think we’re ready for league.”

The Buffaloes had their hands full with a game and physical Bear Creek (2-2-1) squad Monday. They didn’t break the scoreless tie until the final seconds of the opening half, as Esmeralda Cuenca snuck past the right side of the Bruins defense for an uncontested goal.

Then early in the second half, Chenayi Tavaziva pushed a through ball ahead to Sialei Manuleleua for another one-on-one opportunity and a two-goal lead.

Manteca held a 15-11 shot advantage, and goalkeeper Jimi Guibor racked up eight saves.

“Our goal was to go out and apply a lot of pressure on the other team, force them into turnovers and create breakaways,” Coenenberg said. “The girls bought into that very well today and executed.”

Coenenberg was also pleased with the play of defenders Samantha Grieman, Breanne Hatfield and Jasmine Odell, who helped the Guibor notch her third shutout of the season. Of the team’s nine nonleague matches, only once did its back line yield more than one goal (4-1 loss to Vista del Lago).

“Offensively we’re still looking to put things together, but defensively we have things pretty well shored up,” Coenenberg said.

Manteca has a day to get ready for Wednesday’s Valley Oak League opener with Kimball (7-1), a third-year varsity squad with championship hopes.