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Sierra makes it back-to-back VOL titles
Sierra’s Sydnne Koscielcki gets off a kick in front of Weston Ranch’s Jasmine Quintero in Thursday’s VOL meeting

Stephanie Vanni found herself directly in front of the goalie just seconds into Sierra’s Valley Oak League deciding contest with Weston Ranch. Vanni knew exactly what to do, pounding the Timberwolves’ first attempt into the net for an instant 1-0 lead and a smooth path to a 5-0 win and the squads second consecutive league championship.

Sierra (13-1-2 VOL, 17-5-2 overall) took immediate control of its destiny, claiming back-to-back outright VOL titles, versus squandering the chance with a loss or tie to Weston Ranch.

“We have always had that as our goal since the first time we stepped on to the field,” Vanni said of winning the VOL. “We weren’t going to ever give up. Even when we made a couple of mistakes along the way, we weren’t going to let that effect the rest of our season.”

Vanni’s goal in the opening minute clearly set the tone for a Sierra squad that had not forgotten its too close for comfort 2-1 win over the Cougars in the two squads’ initial meeting.

“That goal really set the tone,” Sierra head coach Manuel Pires said. “We took advantage of the first opportunity that we had, we missed on a couple of chances after that, but that first goal definitely helped us settle down.

“I have to give credit to Weston Ranch, they battled us all the way through.”

Sierra entered the intermission clinging to a 4-0 lead, after Ashley Sohal (20th minute), Sydnne Koscielcki (23rd minute) and Delaine Quaresma (27th minute) all netted goals in a six minute span to provide the difference.

Weston Ranch was unable to score a goal in the second half, but found solace in minimizing Sierra’s goal total to one over the final 40 minutes.

“They came out on us in the first couple of minutes and grabbed all of the momentum,” Weston Ranch head coach Carlos Gaspar said. “I wanted it to be a good game; we moved things around a little bit in that second half.

“Sierra is a strong team, a physical team; they have a lot of talent and I wish them the best the rest of the way.”

Vanni would add the lone goal in the second half, sending in her final shot of the day in the 63rd minute.

The Timberwolves reeled in their 11th VOL championship in the school’s 16-year soccer history. The victory ushers the squad into the postseason as the VOL’s No. 1 seed, hosting the No. 2 seed form the Capital Valley Conference May 18.

“In the playoffs, every game is a final,” Pires said. “You have to bring your ‘A’ game every game. I think our team could go far, but it comes down to how you play the game. Whatever opponent we play, they’re all going to be quality teams and we are going to have to be ready to play.”