Up until the final two minutes of the first half Tuesday Manteca had taken just one shot on goal and the Buffaloes never did quite find their offensive rhythm as East Union closed out the first half of the Valley Oak League soccer schedule with a 4-1 victory at Dino Cunial Field.
Isela Rivera was in on half the goals for the Lancers (5-1 VOL, 12-1), heading in a cross from Meghan Wallace 14 minutes into the contest to increase the East Union lead to 2-0 and midway through the second half she shared an assist with Erica daSilva on a goal by Aly Lecce for a 3-1 lead.
“I saw Meghan (Wallace) taking off with just one man to beat,” Rivera said. “She made it down the line and crossed it. It was a little soft so I just ran near post and flipped it in.
“The win feels good. Manteca is a very strong, physical team and we came out and worked hard and worked for each other and got the win.”
Lancers coach Jim Todd recognized that his team was up to the challenge of a physical game.
“We knew it was going be a physical game,” Todd said. “And we played up to it. We played the possession ball we talked about and we were really pleased because the stuff we had been talking about the girls focused on. I just thought we were better than them tonight.”
Todd credited the defensive play of Rachel Sianez and Kianna Lamont in holding the Buffaloes (4-2, 11-4) to only six shots on goal.
“Rachel and Kianna were two central defenders for us tonight,” Todd said. “Rachel was center defender most of the game and Kianna was on either side and those two just played amazing.
“Alivia Lemay snuffed several opportunities, Rebekah Bonds had a good first half and Erica daSilva did a good job shutting down Sammie Morris.”
Humboldt State-bound Morris had one of the better scoring opportunities for the Buffaloes late in the first half on a breakaway that was deflected by a fully extended Adrieanna Wood.
Manteca coach Justin Coenenberg attributed part of his team’s malaise to a long layoff.
“We definitely did not come out and play like we wanted to play,” Coenenberg said. “Just like them we have been off for about 12 days and we were definitely flat.
“We like to out-possess the other team and we like to be the aggressor. Playing against a team like East Union with so many weapons we can’t just sit back and play defense and that really was not our plan. We really didn’t wake up until the last five minutes of the first half when we were able to generate a couple of shots.”
Bonds got the game’s first goal in the eighth minute off of a rebound. The Buffaloes drew within 2-1 in the game’s 50th minute on a corner kick by Avigail Mayen than bent its way around the near post. Following Lecce’s goal for a 3-1 East Union lead Marissa King proved that third time could be the charm as following two blocked shots she took a third with 12 minutes left in the game to make the score 4-1.
Todd was impressed with the play of his two goalies, Wood and Ashley Almeida.
“Both of their games are at top level,” Todd said of Wood and Almeida. “Both played well. Anna (Wood) stopped their best opportunity on the breakaway and Ashley had a clutch save at the edge of the six-yard box.”