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Its on: Manteca-EU match is for title share
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East Union did its part.

Same goes for Manteca — barely.

The rival schools’ boys soccer teams won on Monday to set up their Valley Oak League finale.

Manteca snuck in a goal in the 20th minute to get by Oakdale 1-0 at Guss Schmiedt Field, keeping the Buffaloes within range of a title share and the league’s top seed for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV playoffs.

East Union beat Sonora handily 4-0 to assure itself at least half of the conference championship — the program’s first since 1993. The Buffaloes (9-2-2, 13-4-3) head to East Union Wednesday.

Manteca previously took a 3-0 loss in Oakdale and tied East Union 3-3 two days later at the end of the first half of league. The Buffaloes haven’t lost — or tied — since and will need to win Wednesday for the title share. A loss opens the door for Sierra to take over the second spot.

“The guys are fired up to have an opportunity to take a share of the league title,” Manteca coach Justin Coenenberg said. “We’re playing well right now, and this is the longest win streak any of my teams have ever had.

“We’ve been taking it one game at a time and not trying to look ahead to other opponents. We’re in a situation where we control our own destiny. We talked about how pressure is a privilege, because a lot of teams would die to be in our spot right now.”

Giovanni Marin poked in the lone goal set up by Oral Nunis’ one-man counterattack from the defensive backfield. Manteca could have won by a larger margin, outshooting the Mustangs, 27-15.

But the defense more than made up for the offense’s lack of production. Coenenberg gave credit to goalie Brandon Dias (seven saves) and defenders Brandon Basuil, Carlos Belmonte, Sergio Lopez and Nunis.

“They’ve really come together and are playing better every single game,” Coenenberg said of his back line, which has posted three straight shutouts while giving up only two goals in Manteca’s last six contests.

“Overall, the team has come a long ways since the beginning of the season. We’re a totally different team now.”

East Union 4, Sonora 0

At Dino Cunial Field, the Lancers (10-1-2, 12-7-2) left little doubt in their title-clinching win.

They had four different goal scorers and took a commanding 3-0 lead into halftime. Jairo Baires netted a goal and two assists, while Isreal Aldana, Scott Fisher and Jose Luis Marmolejo added one goal apiece.

A win or a tie Wednesday against visiting Manteca will be enough for sole possession of the championship and a No. 1 seed for the playoffs.

Sierra 5, Lathrop 0

Amir Guedoir celebrated senior night with a hat trick for the Timberwolves (8-2-3, 14-4-3), who are gearing up for a third-straight SJS postseason appearance.

Jaime Rivera pitched in with a goal, and reserve Tiago Utiaga also had one.

Sierra is currently the VOL’s No. 3 seed for the playoffs but can move past Manteca with a win over Weston Ranch Wednesday and a Manteca loss to East Union.

Weston Ranch 3, Kimball 2

In Tracy, senior David Molina struck twice for goals in the second half to complete the comeback for Weston Ranch (3-10, 5-16), which gave up the game’s first score.

Molina also assisted the tying goal in the first half to Ivan Abarca.


Weston Ranch 4, Kimball 1

William Giron produced a hat trick, scoring in the 10th, 29th and 31st minutes of the first half. Pancho Monroy, Josh Mayorca and Rodney Ribali were in on the assists.

Standout defender Juan Ramos added the final goal 13 minutes into the second half.