Lathrop High’s boys soccer team has believed all season it could compete with upper-level teams.
Now the Spartans know they can.
On Friday, they gave first-place East Union all it could handle in a 3-3 stalemate that is sure to get the attention of the rest of the Valley League’s contenders. The host Lancers (4-0-1, 12-3-2) came into the match ranked 19th in the Sac-Joaquin Section, according to MaxPreps.
Lathrop (1-2-1, 4-6-2), ranked 102nd in the SJS, has long struggled for respectability but has proven to be a team that can’t be taken lightly.
“This obviously is going to give the boys confidence going forward,” Lathrop coach Alfredo Reynaga said. “We’re going to Central Catholic and Oakdale next week and excited about our next couple of games.”
It was back and forth throughout, with Lathrop drawing first blood on Luis Vargas’ early goal off a feed from Ronaldo Macias. East Union scored twice in the final 10 minutes of the first half to take the lead.
The Spartans knotted the score back up early in the second. Logan Gazaway sent a cross that was deflected by Victor Enriquez, setting up Macias for the goal.
East Union jumped ahead on a set piece before Lathrop answered again. Gazaway was fouled inside the penalty box to draw a penalty kick that was converted by Miguel Chavez.
“Regardless of our record, we came into this game know we could match up well with East Union,” Reynaga said. “They’re the team to beat and we have nothing but respect from them. We knew we had to play our ‘A’ game.”
Oakdale 57, Manteca 0
LATHROP — The Buffaloes were no match for the top-ranked team in the SJS.
Oakdale won six matches with pins and six more via forfeiture. The only contest to go the distance was in the 138-pound division, with Oakdale’s Seth Borba outpointing Dominic Day, 7-0.
Manteca 24, Lathrop 3
LATHROP — Manteca prevailed thanks to a handful of forfeitures, but Lathrop was able to win the only match that took place, as 132-pounder Izzaiah Suarez outlasted Kiersten Melan in a decision.