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SOCCER: Lathrop awarded home game for playoff debut
Bulletin girls soccer 2018-19
Lathrop standout striker Kassandra Ceja charges for the goal in a Western Athletic Conference contest against Johansen. The Spartans host Dixon next Wednesday for their first-ever Sac-Joaquin Section playoff match. - photo by File photo by WAYNE THALLANDER

Lathrop High’s girls soccer team will get to host its first-ever Sac-Joaquin Section postseason appearance, Sierra is the top seed in Division III and Ripon is No. 2 in defense of its Division V championship.
Six of the area’s seven schools are represented in the girls soccer playoffs. East Union and Manteca joins intra-city rival Sierra in the Division III bracket, while Ripon Christian returns to the postseason in Division VI after narrowly missing out last year.
The Sierra and East Union boys are on opposite sides of Division III, and Weston Ranch drops to Division IV but with a challenging path to the final.
The SJS released brackets Friday afternoon. First-round contests will start at 3 or 6 p.m.
Lathrop (11-7-1) is seeded No. 8 in Division IV after placing third in the Western Athletic Conference. The Spartans, led by the state’s goal-scoring leader in junior Kassandra Ceja (60 goals), welcome No. 9 Dixon (10-8-4) of the Golden Empire League on Wednesday. The winner gets top-seeded Liberty Ranch (16-4) in Galt on Friday, Feb. 15. Liberty Ranch and No. 2 Casa Roble (13-1-5) each have first-round byes.
VOL champion Sierra (23-2-2) is a top-two seed for a fourth straight year and seeks its fourth section banner. The Timberwolves open with No. 16 Rosemont (8-8-3) from Sacramento on Wednesday.
A third showdown with No. 5 East Union (15-2-3) is possible in the semifinal round. The Lancers must first take on Merced-based Golden Valley (11-8-3). Manteca (8-8-5) is seeded 11th and heads to Merced where the Buffaloes meet No. 6 El Capitan (9-4-3).
Folsom powerhouse Vista del Lago (13-4-4) is the No. 2 seed and has a recent history with all three Manteca programs.
The Divisions V and VI girls playoffs begin on Tuesday. Trans-Valley League champion Ripon (15-3-1) plays host to Southern Athletic League runner-up Orestimba (13-10-2), which is seeded seventh in Division V. Amador (12-4) was awarded the top seed in the bracket. Ripon Christian (15-2-5) is seventh in Division VI travels to Tuolumne to take on No. 2 Summerville (11-3-3).
All three local boys clubs kick off postseason play Tuesday.
Sierra (13-6) looks to redeem itself after its quick exit in 2018. Seeded fourth last year, the T’wolves were ousted by No. 13 Mira Loma 2-1 in overtime. They’re slotted in the third spot this time and paired with No. 14 Beyer (11-8-1). Like its girls counterpart, East Union (17-6-2) is seeded fifth and paired with No. 12 Valley (10-8-3). Vista del Lago (15-5-1) and Ceres (16-1-4) are the top two teams, respectively.
Weston Ranch (14-8-1) is going after its third SJS title but will have to do so on the road. The Cougars start with a trip to Sacramento for a matchup against Greater Sacramento League titlist No. 5 Natomas (16-3-1). Weston Ranch is on the same side of the bracket with top-seeded Galt (19-1-1).