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North teams blank South in Senior Showdown
The Souths Kaitlynn Funsch of Manteca flips the ball past the Norths Precious Pantoja of Lincoln in a 1-0 win Sunday for the North in the 8th Annual San Joaquin Soccer Alliance Senior Showdown at Delta College. - photo by DAVE CAMPBELL/The Bulletin

STOCKTON – The 8th Annual San Joaquin Soccer Alliance Senior Showdown was played Sunday at Delta College with the South winning the girls contest 1-0 and the North winning the boys 4-0.

The North was comprised of players from the Tri-City Athletic League and San Joaquin Athletic Association, minus West and Tracy High Schools. Players from the Wolf Pack and Bulldogs joined athletes from the Valley Oak League to comprise the South squad.

Central Catholic’s Skyler Hoy tallied the lone goal of the girls game midway through the second half off of an assist from West’s Kiera Hupman.

Long-time Sierra coach Manuel Pires and West’s Nate Perry coached the South girls, and it was not the first go around for Pires coaching a lot of these players. 

“I coached some of these girls that played on different schools when they were younger,” Pires said. “It’s always good to see one last opportunity for the seniors to play – It’s really awesome.

“It was a good game. Both teams played well. It’s always good to see kids you have coached years ago out here playing the game, continuing to play this beautiful game of soccer.”

Emily Cunial, Daisy Valencia, Jasmine Loaiza and Yolanda Tavares represented the Timberwolves.

“It was really exciting,” Cunial said. “At first I was nervous because it is all the best players from the area but it ended up being really fun.”

Manteca’s Kaitlynn Funsch was joined by teammate Alexa Mayen.

“I thought this was a lot of fun,” Funtsch said. “We have always played against these girls, and then to play with them for once was a good way to end the season. We all knew how each other played so we connected really well.”

Weston Ranch’s Laysha Alvarado was the lone Cougars representative.

“It was a new experience,” Alvarado said. “It felt really good.

“I have always been rivals with these girls and never played with them, but they were really nice, and they were really good, too.”

TCAL leading scorer Ivan Rosales of Tokay lived up to the hype, scoring all four North goals in the boys game.

East Union’s Ronnie Green was joined by his assistant Mike Soulier and Tracy’s Phil Kalis to coach the South boys.

“This game is all about the players,” Green said. “It’s hard because there is not a lot of continuity, but they do know each other.

“I had a great time – Phil Kalis from Tracy and my assistant coach Mike Soulier helped. It was fun. We lost, but they had a great time.”

Eleven local players were on the boys team with East Union being represented the best with Oscar Hinojosa-Soto, Jacob Garcia, Jesus Hurtado, Tyler Soulier and T.J. Rivera.

“It was a great experience,” Hinojosa-Soto said. “It was a good challenge and we came out here and had fun.”

Carlos Mendez, Eddie Reynosa and Alex Mata comprised the Sierra contingency.

“It felt good to have this one opportunity to come out here and have this one last opportunity on the field again,” Mendez said.

Weston Ranch’s Jesus Espinoza was joined by teammate Devon Alvarenga.

“It was a privilege to be out here,” Alvarenga said. “I have played with these guys already in competitive, so it is kind of a friendly game, just for fun.

“It was an honor to against these people, and it was a great game to go out on.”

Lathrop’s Christian Cardenas was the lone Spartan representative.

“There were great players out here,” Cardenas said. “We were a good team and they were a good team, and it was a really good game.”