Nicholas Gonzalez and Ruben Lopez each scored twice in the second half as Sierra’s boys soccer team blew past host Kimball 6-2 in Valley Oak League action Monday.
The win keeps the Timberwolves (7-1-3, 11-2-4 overall) within two points of first-place Manteca with three VOL games remaining. Co-head coach Brett Parham said their hard-earned 3-3 stalemate with Manteca last Friday had lasting effects.
“I think the intensity of the game from Friday led to a real letdown for us,” Parham said. “We came out real lethargic in the first half.”
Erick Noriega and Gonzalez each scored once in the opening 40-minute stanza, but Kimball (1-9-1) forced a tie going into halftime.
“Kimball has been competitive and battled in a lot of their games,” Parham said. “They’re a good team with good speed and they’re due. We told our players that it could be us.”
Sierra chose to take advantage of its own speed on the attacking third. Instead of mounting runs with its usual deliberate pace, the Timberwolves opted to send through balls to Gonzalez and Lopez. Parham lauded wing defender Sergio Mendiola for jump starting the offense.
“He was the player of the game,” Parham said. “He defended well and was able to feed quite a few balls forward to give us opportunities. He was a difference maker.”
Manteca 1, Sonora 0
In Sonora, the Buffaloes (8-1-2, 17-1-2) got all the scoring they needed in the 70th minute when Manuel Nuno converted for an unassisted goal.
“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy,” Manteca coach Justin Coenenberg said. “We did a good job of moving the ball around on their (artificial) turf. We had some opportunities in the first half that we should have capitalized on, but Sonora has a very good goalie (Andrew Klatt).”
Abdiel Chiquito came up with seven saves at goal for Manteca, which warded off Sonora over the final 10 minutes to secure the victory.
East Union 1, Oakdale 1
In Oakdale, East Union (3-3-5, 6-4-6) was closing in on a much-needed win before Davis Harper booted in the equalizer in the 76th minute. The Lancers haven’t won a match since handing rival Manteca its lone loss of the year 4-1 on Oct. 2.
Alejandro Perez netted the game’s first goal off a throw-in from Jordan Kron in the 47th minute.
Manteca 7, Sonora 0
With Sonora undermanned because of injuries, Manteca (7-4) agreed to make it an even 9-on-9 contest. All that did was open up the offense for the Buffaloes, who had seven different goal scorers.
Kevin Rodriguez, Braulio Solis and Mahir Pepic fired one goal each in the first half. Juan Valdovinos, Jose Perez, Hamid Eismati and Ebvin Pepic did the rest.