Sierra High girls soccer squad clinched the Valley Oak League crown Thursday with a 3-1 win at East Union.
“It was a much closer game (than the final score),” said Timberwolves coach Manuel Pires. “Our girls kept forcing the action and never gave up.”
The match was tied 1-1 as both teams capitalized on corner kicks.
Sierra (12-0-1 VOL, 21-0-2 overall) went ahead inside the 78th minute. Tiana Cello, who was on a one-on-one situation, slipped past the goalie for the score.
“We had to go to attack mode,” said Lancers coach Carlos Gaspar on his team trailing 2-1 with time winding down.
The Timberwolves, instead, tacked on another goal about a minute later. Jaydin Shinn, off a corner kick by Jasmine Loaiza, scored on a header, in turn, putting the game out of reach.
She scored twice in this crucial game.
East Union (9-2-1, 14-5-2) lost to Sierra earlier in the season, 4-0, and played it more defensively in the rematch at Dino Cunial Field.
Freshman goalie Kylie Mendez came up with four first-half saves, including a one-hand tip away by a ball kicked by Shinn. On another stop, she was helped out by teammate Chelsey Medeiros, who was backing up the play.
The Lancers took a 1-0 lead on a penalty kick by Jasmine Mejia in the 18th minute.
Sierra had several good looks in that first half, missing two wide with two other tries sailing over the upright.
East Union’s defense continued to hold up until the 54th minute.
With Mendez out of the game on the yellow-card infraction, Shinn tied the game at 1-1 on the penalty kick.
East Union threatened in the 70th minute, with Sierra sophomore goalie Michaela Bitle knocking Natasha Honore’s shot attempt.
“Up to that point, it was a close game,” Gaspar said.
But then the Timberwolves connected on the back-to-back scores in the closing minutes to put the game away.
East Union, now in third place, will battle rival Manteca for the No. 2 spot next Tuesday at Dino Cunial Field, while Sierra looks to lock up a top seed for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs at Weston Ranch.
To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail email@example.com.