After Monday’s results in the Valley Oak League, East Union is once again the team everyone else is chasing.
Manteca, tied at the top of the standings with the reigning league and Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV champion Lancers coming into the week, was knocked down with the rest of the pack no thanks to its 2-2 stalemate with Oakdale.
Manteca coach Justin Coenenberg is just glad the outcome wasn’t any worse as it could have been. Oakdale took a 2-0 lead into halftime at Guss Schmiedt Field before the Buffaloes (4-0-1 VOL, 13-1-1 overall) came back to knot it with goals from Madison Burch and Avigail Mayen.
“Unfortunately we tied, but fortunately we tied, I guess you can say,” Coenenberg said.
East Union, meanwhile, stomped previously-undefeated Central Catholic 8-0 take a two-point lead in the standings. East Union heads to Oakdale (3-0-2, 9-4-3) on Wednesday while Manteca hosts Central Catholic. It is shaping up to be a four-team race but with battle-tested Kimball and Sierra looming as landmines in the loaded VOL.
“We’re not panicking but there is definitely some urgency because of how good our league is,” Coenenberg said. “We don’t want to dig ourselves a hole and rely on other teams to lose in the end; we want to be in position to control our own destiny.”
Destiny remains in their hands, for now.
Ashley Arnett scored off a corner-kick cross in the seventh minute to give Oakdale the early advantage. Megan Burke doubled the lead with a well-placed attempt from mid-range. The Mustangs were able to make good on two of their three first-half shots. Manteca dominated on attempts, 22-7.
Alyssa Burch had six saves at goal for the Buffaloes. Manteca previously downed Oakdale 4-1 in the third-place match of the Buffalo Cup.
“It was the fourth game in the tournament, it was hot and players were banged up,” Coenenberg said of Manteca’s first showdown with Oakdale. “We talked about seeing a different Oakdale team than the one we saw in the tournament, so we weren’t over confident or anything like that.
“We had good opportunities all game and their goalie did a heck of a job. For the most part we dominated possession, especially in the first half. We probably led in every statistic except for the one that matters most.”
East Union 8, Central Catholic 0
Victor Polanco is in his second year as East Union’s head coach, and even now he continues to be amazed by his team. East Union (5-0, 8-0) has now gone 31 matches without a loss under Polanco.
“Surprising,” he said of the Lancers’ throttling of Central Catholic (3-1-1, 5-1-2).
Not surprising that they won, but the fashion in which they did so. Ilena Rivera scored the game’s first goal — and her first of four for the night — in the 15th minute and the rout was on. Clarissa Lecce added two goals, Isabella Rivera netted one and Arianna Cardenas scored one and assisted three others. Anna Wood recorded six saves in the shutout.
“It was a pretty good game until we started to score,” Polanco said. “Central Catholic doesn’t give up, they fight all the way until the end. I give them credit. That’s a good team; they move the ball pretty well, but every game our team seems to being playing better and better.”
East Union 11, Central Catholic 1
Skylar Treacy amassed five goals, while Julia Villagon and Emma Ott chipped in two apiece. Alexis Smith and Tyanne Woodyard each scored once.
Oakdale 3, Manteca 2
Alexandria Delgadillo’s head ball kept Manteca within striking distance in the first half. Sarah Vegas accounted for the Buffaloes’ second-half goal.