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Lancers make big statement at Sonora
Lathrop defender Illiana Martinez clears the ball away from the Weston Ranch player in the two team’s Valley Oak League opener Tuesday at Spartan Stadium. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO
SONORA — The first marquee soccer matchup in the Valley Oak League came on opening day Tuesday, and it was a chance for East Union to stake its claim as one of the conference’s teams to beat.

Even though the 1-0 final doesn’t imply as much, the Lancers proved they are contenders in overwhelming fashion.

The victory at Sonora’s Dunlavy Field was the first under fourth-year coach Jim Todd, whose squad improved to 6-2-2 overall. Sonora (0-1, 0-2) is trying to work its way back to the top after claiming three straight VOL titles from 2006-08.

Freshman Kianna Lamont produced the lone goal 15 minutes into the second half, working off a well-mounted attack started by Eliana daSilva and Ode Castillo.

East Union had many other runs off strung-together passes all game but couldn’t punctuate the sequences with goals.

The Lancers fired off a whopping 34 shots to Sonora’s one, leaving little work for goalkeeper Taylor Maruca. Jessica Villegas, Reanna Schmidt, Erica Aguiar, Lamont sisters Kianna and Kayla and defensive midfielder Erica daSilva were in on the shutout.

“I really felt we owned the game and the score didn’t show it,” Todd said. “We were working the ball around well, threading passes and had some great combinations.

“Our problem was that we took too many pot shots. We weren’t getting in position get great power behind them, and I’d say 20 of our shots went right to their goalie.”

East Union can make another big statement with a win over visiting Oakdale (7-2-1) Thursday night at Dino Cunial Field.

Manteca 3, Ceres 0
CERES — With talented goal scorer Airenne Curry sick, Manteca (1-0, 7-2-1) looked to a pair of freshmen to take charge of the attack.

Freshman Sammie Morris scored in the 36th and 60th minutes and assisted fellow freshman Taylor Teicheira’s goal in the 28th minute.

Goalie Brittany Costa recorded seven saves with regular starting keeper Jimi Guibor still out with a broken pinkie.

“Sammie really stepped it up and did a good job,” Manteca coach Justin Coenenberg said. “But the first 30 minutes of the game was ugly, probably the worst we’ve played all year.

“We only had eight shots in the first half but ended up with 21, so obviously we played much better in the second half.”

The win sets up a big meeting with visiting crosstown rival and reigning champion Sierra Thursday.

Sierra 3, Central Valley 0
CERES —   Stephanie Vanni, Mariela Pimentel and Joanna Ortiz each scored, and Rebecca Scott assisted two of those goals for the Timberwolves (1-0, 5-4).

Moriah Fallon picked up four saves in the shutout.

“You’re always happy with the win, but in the first half we played slow and were very sloppy,” Sierra coach Manuel Pires said. “We picked it up in the second half and got stronger as the game went on.

“We’ll need to play a lot better against Manteca (Thursday), because I’m sure they’ll be at their best. We’ll see what kind of team we have then.”

Weston Ranch 4, Lathrop 0
LATHROP — Wafa Hafed scored twice in the first half for Weston Ranch (1-0, 4-4), and Jasmine Quintero contributed a goal and an assist. Marisa Bradshaw scored off a direct kick in the second half. Mayra Ambriz recorded the clean sheet at goal.

“It’s always nice to win, but we know we have to step up our game a little bit because the VOL is a tough league,” Weston Ranch coach Carlos Gaspar said. “We played a little sloppy today and we have some work to do.”

— Jonamar Jacinto