It was a bittersweet moment for ReAnna Schmitt.
The senior defender played her final high school soccer match for East Union Monday, when the Lancers clinched one of the Valley Oak League’s three Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV playoff berths with an 11-0 throttling of Sonora High at Dino Cunial Field.
Schmitt’s time on the pitch was brief.
Sporting a brace on her right leg, she touched the ball one last time in the opening kickoff before Sonora cleared the ball out of bounds, allowing sophomore twins Kianna and Kayla Lamont to help the team captain limp her way to the sideline.
Schmitt hurt her right knee earlier this season and reaggravated it in Friday’s pivotal 6-3 win over Kimball. The initial diagnosis is a tear to the anterior cruciate ligament.
“Sitting out for the last (home) game of the year was really emotional for me,” Schmitt said while leaning on crutches after the match. “It would have been better if I could have played, but it was nice to see the girls dominate.”
East Union (8-2-3, 15-5-3 overall) honored three others on senior night: Eliana da Silva, Leilani Villaseñor and fourth-year varsity starter Megan Howley.
For Howley, it was just her second league contest this year, and the conference finale is Wednesday at Manteca High.
The dazzling striker broke an ankle in EU’s final non-league contest on March 12. She jumped started the rout Monday by deflecting in da Silva’s cornerkick in the 12th minute. It was the first of three assists for da Silva.
“I really had doubts that I’d be able to play again,” Howley said. “Once I got my cast off it took a long time to get my strength back on my ankle, but I let it heal properly.
“I was dying to get back out there, and I’m just thankful that I can play these last few games.”
Like Schmitt, she returned from injury on Friday. Howley made an immediate impact, scoring twice and assisting two other goals. The 6-3 win against Kimball was a vastly different outcome compared to their last meeting, a 1-1 draw in which both teams scored in the final minutes.
“She totally influences the game because she’s so fast,” East Union coach Jim Todd said.
Many of the youngsters also left their mark Monday.
Freshmen Claudia Arevalo, Isela Rivera and Rachel Sianez each scored twice. It was the first career goals for Arevalo in high school, while Rivera rung up Nos. 23 and 24 for the season while notching her 21st assist. Both totals are area highs.
Freshman Regina Dias, sophomore Kianna Lamont and juniors Stephanee Sabala and Shaun Nash added a goal apiece. Kayla Lamont had two assists.
The Lancers, who outshot Sonora (1-10-2) 24-3, tallied their final goal in the 61st minute. The remainder of the match was essentially a keep-away drill that included goalkeeper Ashley Almeida, who was otherwise uninvolved because of the team’s dominant play.
“It was fun. We were able to get a lot of kids in who haven’t gotten much playing time recently, and they played stepped up and looked very good,” Todd said.