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Intra-city foes win to set up rematch in postseason
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There is unfinished business between the Sierra and Manteca girls soccer teams.

They’ll get to settle the score Friday after both came through for opening-round victories in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs on Wednesday.

Seeded No. 2, Valley Oak League champion Sierra thumped visiting Vanden 5-1, scoring three goals in the first 12 minutes of the match. The Timberwolves have had to make up for poor starts with scintillating finishes in several league games, but on Wednesday they were able to put it out of reach early.

“It’s something we’ve talked about,” Sierra coach Manuel Pires said. “Early in the season we were able to score quickly in games and it was good to see them bring that back. We didn’t ease up and kept pressuring them in the second half. It was a good way to start.”

Yasmin Ballew gave the Timberwolves (23-0-2) the early spark, scoring in the third and eighth minutes and later assisting the second of Jadyn Shinn’s two goals. Sierra led 3-0 at halftime.

Tiana Cello, who earlier had an assist, finished scoring for Sierra in the 52nd minute. Jenna Villanueva set her up with a back-post cross, but it was all made possible by the playmaking ability of Ballew. 

“I feel like she’s getting stronger as the season goes on,” Pires said of Ballew. “She was a little bit injured at the beginning of the season, but she is stepping up at the right time. She was a real difference for us on the attacking third.”

Callie Crain (five saves) and Michaela Bitle (three saves) split time at goal. No. 15 Vanden (14-6-1) scored its lone goal in the 75th minute.

Sierra’s quarterfinal match with cross-town rival Manteca is scheduled for a 6 o’clock kickoff Friday at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium. Sierra held off the Buffaloes 3-2 in their first VOL meeting but needed to come back from two two-goal deficits for a 4-4 tie in the rematch.

“It’s going to be an exciting game,” Pires said. “I’m sure they’re looking forward to playing us again and so are we.”


Manteca 2,

Christian Brothers 1

SACRAMENTO — It was a tale of two halves for 10th-seeded Manteca (19-5-2), which shook off a lackluster start and dominated the final 40-minute stanza. No. 7 Christian Brothers (9-7-4) led 1-0 at halftime.

“We were not playing good at all,” Manteca coach Justin Coenenberg said. “They were outplaying us, beating us to every 50-50 ball and outpossessing us. We were just flat but came out of halftime a totally different team.”

Senior Madison Burch led the turnaround. She scored the equalizer off a feed from Kaitlynn Funsch, and with about 10 minutes left was taken down in the box on a breakaway to draw a penalty kick. Alexa Mayen converted the PK and game-winning goal.

“Burch played her best half of the season — she was all over the place,” Coenenberg said. 

Wednesday marked the return of standout striker Kaley Miller, who missed the Buffaloes’ final three games of the regular season to an ankle injury sustained in the last Sierra game.


Division V

Ripon 3,

Capital Christian 2

RIPON — Cindy Alvarez netted a pair of goals for second-seeded Ripon (14-4-2), including the game-winner in the 70th minute set up by a bending corner-kick cross from Ariana Scholten. 

The Indians never trailed but twice allowed No. 7 Capital Christian (8-10-3) to knot it up on goals from Alyssa Herrera and Haley Bodlak.

Ripon struck first in the fifth minute. Madison Pugh started the scoring sequence with a steal in the attacking third, and Devaney Dougherty delivered a cross to Aubree Pelon for the first of her two assists. She later helped Ripon take a 2-1 lead with a dish to Alvarez.

Ashley Pugh recorded six saves for the Indians, who welcome West Campus to Stouffer Field for a semifinal match Friday starting at 6:30 p.m.