Sierra completed an unbeaten run in the regular season with a 6-0 win over visiting Weston Ranch on Wednesday but won’t have a Valley Oak League championship to show for it.
The Timberwolves ended up a point shy of first-place Manteca, a team they went 1-0-1 against this season. What cost them were 3-3 draws against Central Catholic and Oakdale, both of which came back from multi-goal deficits.
“We’re the only team to be able to take points away from Manteca, but it wasn’t enough,” Sierra coach Manuel Pires said. “It’s tough, especially when you finish the season undefeated. It is what it is, and we’re happy to be moving onto the playoffs. We’re ready for the next journey.”
Sierra’s one-year turnaround is impressive nonetheless, and it will be a contender in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs whether it lands in Division III or IV. After going 7-14-3 in 2015, the Timberwolves roll into their first postseason appearance since 2012 boasting a 22-0-5 record (11-0-3 in league).
“For us to be able to get this close to winning the title is amazing,” Pires said. “The girls worked really hard and put a lot of pressure on (Manteca). We had an opportunity to hold onto first place, but we let some games get away from us. That’s just how tough our league is.
“Our goal now is to get to the finals, and we’re taking it one game at a time.”
The next win will be Pires’ 500th.
No. 499 came with little resistance. Freshman Jadyn Shinn scored two goals and assisted one. Briana Oseguera, Jordyn Costa and McKenna Doyle added a goal each on their senior night. Yasmin Ballew also had one.
Sierra will find out its divisional placement and seeding on Friday.
Ripon Christian 2, Delhi 0
RIPON — With Delhi (5-5-3, 5-9-3) battling for the fourth and last available postseason berth, the Hawks made four-time league champion Ripon Christian (12-0-1, 15-6-1) work for their scoring opportunities as they hoped to salvage at least a tie.
The Knights didn’t get on board until the 60th minute, when Rachel Faure set up Abby Buitrago’s one-on-one goal. Buitrago doubled the lead five minutes later.
“It was a little frustrating for the team to not be able to score and to have to fight through player after player from Delhi, but they persevered and came out with a good win. The second time through league teams are sitting back more and playing defensively, and I think we’ll see teams like that in the playoffs. It was good for us to go through these challenges and learn how to overcome different defensive systems.”
Ripon Christian wraps up regular-season play today at Le Grand. The Knights are the two-time defending SJS Division VII champions but will move up to Division VI.