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Late goal lifts Lancers over Manteca
Alexander Tapia of East Union drives the ball towards Manteca defender Victor Soto in the VOL finale between the two Manteca schools. East Union scored two goals in the second half to cruise to a 3-1 victory. - photo by JASON CAMPBELL
Manteca had every reason to think that the one-goal lead they held at the half in the Valley Oak League season finale they hosted Tuesday at Guss Scmiedt Field was going to hold up.

But the Lancers of East Union had other ideas.

While they didn’t have a hard time moving ball against Manteca, the normally prolific East Union scoring attack couldn’t get the ball beyond Manteca goalkeeper Josh Marscial for the entire first half.

That all changed when Juan Vazquez knotted the score in the game’s 48th minute and took the wind out of the Manteca defense in the process – giving his squad the momentum it needed to work through the remainder of the game and end the season with a 3-1 victory over their intracity rival.

“We came out kind of flat tonight, like we trying too hard on pushing the long ball up and we didn’t wait for everything to come together,” East Union head coach Clarence Goes said. “But we came out in the second half and started playing together and that’s when things started to happen for us.

“Once we started playing like a team and moving the ball around we started to look like the team that I know we can be, and while you’d like to be going on you do want to look back and see that these guys went out with a win today.”

And even with the score knotted at 1-1 the outcome of the game was from final.

The Manteca defense stepped up their game against East Union after Vazquez’ slow roller crept in for a goal, and kept that pressure up until the 63rd minute when Cruz Hernandez hooked up with Alejandro Gonzaloz for a go-ahead goal.

Alvaro Lemus put the game out of reach for Manteca when he took a corner kick that was sent in and put it just over the head of Marscial for the game’s final goal – giving the Lancers the 3-1 lead they would carry until the end of regulation.

“It was the last home game of the season and we wanted to get a win here tonight for our seniors,” Manteca head coach Justin Coenenberg said. “We played the majority of the first half with the lead, but we just didn’t get it done there at the end. I’m extremely proud of how hard my guys played as a whole this entire year.

“Sure we’d like to go out with a win, but I’m proud just to see them finish as strongly as they did.”

Sierra 1, Weston Ranch 0
It was defense that helped Sierra squeeze out a narrow win over Weston Ranch Tuesday to lock up their place as a CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoff squad.

With Brian Gomez’ goal in the 35th minute serving as the game’s only score the Timberwolves relied on its defensive corps to stop the Cougars from ruining any momentum that they might want to carry into the postseason – where they’ll join Ceres and Central  Valley as VOL representatives.

“It was a good game. It went back and forth and the guys got one good shot and nailed it,” Sierra head coach Jose Montes said. “It was our last home game of the season so I wanted to do this tonight for our seniors.”

The Timberwolves – who improve to 11-2-3 in league play with the victory – will now have to see where they fall in the postseason seedings as they prepare to join the two other VOL seeds that are headed to the post-season for the second straight year.

“We have to stay with the game plan and do what we know how to do,” Montes said of how the team will prepare for the playoffs. “We want to be ready for whatever opponent we’re going to have to face, and we want to make those areas a lot stronger.”