After not taking a shot in the first half Monday night against host East Union, Manteca trailed by a goal going into the second half when the Buffaloes went on the attack.
Midway through the second half, Manteca got the ball in front of the Lancers net on a corner kick. After multiple shots and what seemed like an eternity, the ball caromed away and the Buffaloes would not threaten again in a 1-0 Valley Oak League girls soccer victory for East Union at Dino Cunial Field.
“When that sort of thing happens, usually I can’t see the ball,” Lancers goalie Maddy Miske said. “It’s really scary, and luckily my team was able to help out. It bounces around off of literally everybody, and you wonder, ‘Where the heck did the ball go?’
“I didn’t actually hit the ball once. I went to dive for it, and it hit off of one of my girls and it hit the crossbar and it bounced down. And then after that I really don’t know what happened. I was trying to get back onto my feet but I couldn’t do it quickly enough.”
East Union coach Jason Silva knows he was fortunate that Manteca (2-1-2 VOL, 15-2-3 overall) did not score on its golden opportunity.
“A shot like that has gone against us every time this year,” Silva said. “That’s probably the first time this year that the ball has got knocked around in our box and not into our net.
“That was a little bit of good fortune going our way.”
In a first half dominated with the Lancers (2-2-2, 5-9-4), getting off 10 shots to none for the Buffaloes, Jenna Campbell got East Union on the board when she blasted a long pass from Chloe Silva into the net in the 37th minute.
“We had a lot of opportunities in the beginning of the game and we just couldn’t finish,” Campbell said. “It felt good to get one in, and then stick the shutout.
“I knew I had an open shot, and I had to put it in the corner. I was glad and it went in and not to the goalie”
Chloe Silva knew she could count on Campbell.
“I had to cross it, cut it back and then I had the open cross to get to her,” Silva said. “She is always there, and I know if it is not going to go to someone else it is going to go to Jenna. I am always looking for her, because she will be right there for it.”
Coming on the heels of Friday’s 6-0 win over Central Catholic — the Lancers’ first win in 11 games — Jason Silva thinks that things may be turning around for East Union.
“All year we have been better that what our stats have told,” Silva said. “We just keep battling and losing tight games, making costly mistakes that cost us games. The last few games, we have been making fewer mistakes while capitalizing on the opportunities we have had, and we are playing more-complete 80-minute games.
“Tonight, we knew the task at hand. Last time we played Manteca we gave up too much space and tonight we took away the space and we tried to keep the ball off the feet of No. 19 (Cami Silva) and make them try to beat us a different way. The girls definitely stepped up and played one of the best games they have had all year.”
After a six-game winning streak, the Buffaloes tied their last two games before Monday night.
“We are not playing good soccer right now,” Manteca coach Justin Coenenberg said. “And we haven’t figured out why yet. We are going on three games now with us not connecting or creating the opportunities like we were.
“We have tried to move some players around and switch formations up, trying to do different things. We just haven’t been able to put it together the last few games.”
Wednesday night at 6:45, the Buffaloes host Central Catholic and the Lancers host Oakdale.
East Union 4, Manteca 2
Giselle Reyes netted two goals and two assists for the Lancers.
Mila Ysalvay added a goal and an assist and Sophia Estacio posted a goal.
Gaby Ramos scored both goals for the Timberwolves.