Scoring goals hadn’t been an issue for Manteca High’s girls soccer team all season.
The prolific Buffaloes were shut out for a second straight match Monday when visiting Kimball of Tracy escaped Guss Schmiedt Field with a much-needed 1-0 upset victory. Maya Lopez made the lone goal in the 79th minute, as the Jaguars avenged their earlier 2-1 loss to Manteca.
Manteca (6-2-1, 15-3-1 overall) hoped to get back on track following last Friday’s 2-0 loss to Valley Oak League-leading East Union, which widened the gap Monday. Manteca’s setback has created a logjam behind East Union as four clubs scrap for two Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berths.
“Definitely didn’t want to play the way we wanted to coming off of Friday’s game,” Manteca coach Justin Coenenberg said. “We were just kind of flat, the intensity wasn’t there. Yeah, we may have dominated possession but when you let teams hang around stuff like that happens.”
While Manteca had possession for the majority of the game and the better overall looks, Kimball (3-3-3, 9-4-4) fared better in the second half with the wind to its back. Lopez’s left-footed game-winner was a high-arcing shot taken about 25 yards out. She lofted it high enough sail over the reach of 6-foot-1 keeper Alyssa Burch (four saves).
“Their goalie is pretty tall so I didn’t know if I was going to make it,” Lopez said. “I figured she was going to at least get a tip on it, but I was pretty confident in taking the shot.”
Manteca’s defense was otherwise well-fortified throughout. The only threatening shot from close range it allowed was thwarted by defender Ivy Benson, who cleared it away from the goal area in the sixth minute after Cynthia Soto managed to deflect a Lopez cross past Burch.
The Kimball defense, anchored by senior captain Taylah Nusser and Amanda Arledge in the middle, forced Manteca standouts Leah Manuleleua and Lejla Pepic to take their shots from distance. Early in the second half Pepic nearly had a 1-on-1 breakaway on a well-timed through pass from Natalia Duran but was halted by a questionable offside call.
“Our keeper (Amanda Leal, nine saves) did a real good job and kept us in the game, but Manteca has a great attack,” Kimball coach Ron Hattley said. “We were really fortunate because they missed some good shots.”
Good shots, yes, but Coenenberg wants to see his attackers generate great ones.
“We didn’t create enough opportunities to score,” he said. “We took non-threatening shots, which is not like us. We have 94 goals this year, and usually, no matter who we play, we can get shots off and get some opportunities. They did a good job on us back there, but I think it was more of us not taking care of business and not them beating us.”
Central Catholic 6, Lathrop 1
In Lathrop, Starting goalkeeper Cassandra Flores (eight saves) got to contribute on the other end of the pitch, as she assisted Yaneli Avila’s goal late in the second half.
Lathrop (1-8, 5-14-1) dropped its third straight match while Central Catholic (4-2-2, 6-2-3) remains in the hunt for a postseason berth.
Sierra 13, Kimball 1
Lindsey Walljasper struck out nine and Alaina Castor tripled and drove in three runs for Sierra, which improved to 6-2 in Valley Oak League play.
The Timberwolves gave Walljasper plenty of run support in this makeup of Wednesday’s rainout, pounding out 14 hits to force the mercy rule.
Castor was one of our four players with two hits. Devi Coglio, Kendelle Messersmith and Tayler Moss also went 2 for 4 as Sierra won for the 12th time in 15 games.
Walljasper allowed just two hits, but one was a home run for the Jaguars’ only run.
Sierra also won the sophomore game in dominating fashion, 15-5.
Lathrop 17, Weston Ranch 2
Naomi DeBarrio was the winning pitcher and was aided by sparkling defense from Samantha Sales and Annalisa Garcia’s 4-for-4 effort on offense.
Lathrop 2, Central Catholic 1
The Spartans, coached by Mariela Pimentel, earned their first-ever VOL win at the frosh-soph level Monday.
Taylor Rose accounted for both of the team’s goals with an assist coming from Farhat Khairzadah. Goalie Noelle Smith tallied 10 saves.