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Sierra escapes East Union with controversial win
Sierra-East Union girls soccer
Sierra goalie Annika Beall makes a save against East Union. - photo by SEAN KAHLER

It would not be a Sierra-East Union girls soccer game without drama.

The visiting Timberwolves were clinging to a one-goal lead Monday with 12 minutes left at Dino Cunial Field when Chloe Silva toed the line for an East Union penalty kick.

Sierra goalie Annika Beall blocked the kick but did not possess the ball. Silva covered the deflection and plowed the ball into the back of the net to apparently tie the game.

Not so fast.

Much to the chagrin of a very animated East Union coaching staff, the referee ruled that Silva could not be the first Lancer to touch the ball after a goalie deflection on a penalty kick. East Union’s coaches protested loudly and repeatedly that was the incorrect application of the rule.

Their pleas fell on deaf ears, and Sierra (3-2-3 VOL, 10-6-3 overall) escaped with three precious points in a 1-0 win. The the Lancers (2-4-2, 5-11-4) dropped to fifth place, one point behind Manteca for the fourth and the final playoff spot. East Union has two league games left, Manteca three.

East Union Athletic Director J.J. Ramirez said the team was going to see if a protest was possible. A review of the 2022-2023 Soccer Guide indicates that according to the National Federation of High School soccer rules protests are not permitted.

Lancers coach Jason Silva knew not getting that point is huge.

“We battled all game,” Silva said. “It was a good game going back and forth. Every coach in the league has been saying all year long that every point counts. It’s such a tight league that not having this one point could potentially knock us out of the playoffs.

“It’s unfortunate, but we have to prepare for Kimball on Wednesday and see what happens. But it definitely hurts not getting a point out of here, and we didn’t take advantage of some of the opportunities we had, but it was a good game. We battled. It was nice to play when it wasn’t all muddy like last time. But it was a frustrating outcome for sure.”

Timberwolves coach Manuel Pires knew he was going to have his hands full with East Union.

“We knew it was going to be a battle all the way until the end,” Pires said. “We finally got that ball in the back of the net in the second half.

“Payton Abrew played a great game. She created that opportunity and was able to put it in. We had an opportunity to blow the game wide open with a PK and we missed it. It was a crazy game but that’s how these games go.”

After a scoreless first half, 14 minutes into the second half Abrew dribbled through a crowded zone to the front of the Lancers net and powered the ball in for the game’s lone goal.

“EU is one of our big-time rivals,” Abrew said. “We have lost a lot of players since last year so we knew we had to come out and give it everything we had to beat them.

“I am good with my footwork and I saw an opportunity so I knew I could do it. I took the shot and it went in.”

Lancers goalie Madelynn Miske tallied six saves. After an uneventful first 40 minutes, Sierra goal keep Annika Beall notched four second-half saves, including the one on the penalty kick. 

“In a PK, my No. 1 goal is to try my best to get into her head,” Beall said. “I look her right in the eyes, I clap my hands, I try and be as big of a distraction as I can because usually that makes her kick the ball right to me, and that’s what happened tonight.

“I knocked it down, but I should have caught it.”

East Union closes out the league schedule with a game in Tracy against second-place Kimball on Wednesday and next Monday in Modesto at last-place Central Catholic. Both games are at 6:45 p.m.

On Wednesday night, Sierra hosts Central Catholic before wrapping up league play next Monday night at Manteca. Both games are at 6:45.


Junior varsity

Sierra 6, East Union 2

Jessica Miranda tallied a hat trick for the Timberwolves.

Peyton Duarte, Anayla McDonald and Maitland Kohoutek each added a goal for Sierra with Debroah Villalobos, Mele Sanchez and Kohoutek each notching two assists.

Giselle Reyes posted both goals for the Lancers.