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Mata vaults East Union into 3-way lead in VOL
Lancers’ shutout win over Kimball is 100th for coach Ronnie Green
Kimball-East Union boys soccer
With Kimball defenders Omar Maamo (4) and Ernesto Landeros (6) behind him, Giovanni Perez begins to celebrate after scoring the second goal in East Union’s 3-0 win on Tuesday. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin

Luis Mata is making up for lost time and a poor debut performance for East Union.

Playing his second game of the season, the junior midfielder had a hand in every goal scored Tuesday when the Lancers earned a needed 3-0 win over visiting Kimball to set up a possible three-way share of the Valley Oak League championship.

East Union (7-2 VOL, 19-6-1), Kimball (7-2, 10-3) and Sierra wrap up the regular season Thursday against the bottom-half teams. All three teams split with each other.

The win for East Union is also the 100th under sixth-year coach Ronnie Green.

“To be champions, or even co-champions, in the VOL is very tough to do,” Green said. “The attrition rate is very high. We’re happy with where we’re at, we’re happy with our rankings. Everything is going in the right direction.”

Mata’s arrival comes a good time after regaining eligibility to play.

He made his season debut last week in a 3-2 loss to Sierra but played sparingly.

“He played around 20 minutes and I just told him it was not working, so I pulled him out,” Green said.

Against Kimball, he made the plays that gave his team the comfortable victory. Mata first struck in the 25th minute, as he turned to open space after a throw-in from Giovanni Perez.

He returned the favor in the 55th minute, winning a 50-50 ball and sending it forward to an open Perez for a routine 1v1 finish.

“I felt another one coming,” Mata said.

He capped off his big night in the 78th minute after midfielder Anthony Sy delivered a perfect diagonal through ball.

“I love this team,” Mata said. “I’d give anything to this team. Contributing to this made the experience better.”

Both teams finished with a man down because of double-yellow ejections. The Jaguars lost defender Thibaut Declercq in the 37th minute, while EU’s Ethan Mamorno was sent off in the 69th.

It was a costly win for the Lancers, as second-leading scorer Erardo Pelayo (ankle) and Angel Guzman (shoulder) went down with injuries. Sy played through a knock, but may join the others in sitting out the league finale at Central Catholic.

“The only unfortunate thing was the injured players,” Green said. “It was a hard-fought game and we knew it would be, but now I have two or three guys out for a little bit. It was one of the first games I had everybody, and three guys got hurt.”

Green is hoping the team will be fully fit by the time the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs begin on Feb. 14.

For now, he’ll enjoy this meaningful 100th career victory, one of which includes the 2019 California Interscholastic Federation Division III Northern Regional championship.

“My dad (Al Green) coached here, Jason (Silva) and I played here,” Green said, referencing his former teammate, assistant and now East Union girls coach. “It’s nice to have 100 wins in six seasons. It’s a pretty big accomplishment, but I’ve had some great players and a great coaching staff around me.”


Sierra 6, Central Catholic 0

Senior night was a breeze for the Timberwolves (7-2, 10-6), who can guarantee their share of the league title Thursday at Manteca.

Jorge Reyes was the lone senior to find the back of the net, and he did so in the fifth minute.

Juniors Diego Casillas, Julien Leonardo, Victor Martinez and Anthony Napoles added one apiece.

Alexis Berber, Adam Montero and Dylan Roger each contributed an assist.