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Lancers hand VOLs top team its first loss
CERES — East Union made Tuesday’s Valley Oak League finale between rivals Central Valley and Ceres mean something.

Previously unbeaten Central Valley expected to clinch its second straight VOL championship Thursday, but the Lancers scored two second-half goals in a 2-1 stunner.

East Union (9-5-1, 12-8-2) will miss the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs because third-place Sierra wrapped up the final berth with an 8-0 win over Lathrop Thursday.

Alejandro Gonzaloz headed in the deciding goal with about 10 minutes remaining, capping a highlight-worthy sequence in which Marc LaRocque dished it off with his own header off of Victory Garibay’s cornerkick.

Julio Pimentel tied the score with a header of his own midway through the second half, and Jorge Saldate chipped in the assist.

East Union had confidence going into the match having lost just 1-0 at home to Central Valley on Sept. 29.

Central Valley came into the match with four consecutive shutouts.

“The kids were excited,” East Union coach Clarence Goes said. “We told them this was their chance to show them what they can really do. They stepped it up and played good, controlled soccer.”

 The Hawks (12-1-2, 15-3-4) are only a point ahead of Ceres in the standings and will need to at least tie on Tuesday to capture the banner, but they will have to do so without playmaking midfielder Jose Ramirez.

Ramirez picked up his third yellow card of the regular season Thursday and will be suspended for the title-deciding match.

Goes attributed his team’s play to goalkeeper Joe Modesto and a new-look defense which featured Cruz Hernandez and Jose Villasenor at stopper.

“They did a good job of controlling (Central Valley’s) offense,” Goes said. “After we went ahead they did a good job of possessing the ball and playing keep-away. It was a good effort from back to front.”

East Union closes the season at Manteca next Tuesday.

Oakdale 8, Manteca 2
OAKDALE — The host Mustangs (7-7-1, 14-8-2) celebrated Senior Night in a big way, as Robert Gilbert led all players with three goals. Antonio added two for Oakdale.

Manteca fell to 3-10-2 in league, 4-16-2 overall.

Ceres 10, Weston Ranch 0
CERES — The Cougars (4-9-2) were in a tough spot at the start of the match with just 11 available players. They had to play a man down with a player forgetting his cleats at home, and top scorer David Molina was absent because of an injury.

Ceres (12-2-1), which host rival Ceres next Tuesday for the VOL championship, had trouble with Weston Ranch in their last meeting, squeaking out a 3-1 victory.

“It’s hard to win a game shorthanded, especially against a good team,” Weston Ranch coach Carlos Gaspar said. “We lost to them 3-1 with a full squad, but you can’t expect to compete with them with just 10.”

Manteca 5, Oakdale 0
OAKDALE — The VOL champion was led by Giovanni Marin’s hat trick recorded in the first half.

Cesar Reyes and Adner Mayen each added a goal. Niko Gonzalez contributed two assists, and Nacho Valdovinos had one.

The Buffaloes (13-0) will look to complete their outstanding season with a perfect record Tuesday when they host East Union.

— Jonamar Jacinto