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SOCCER: Vega saves Cougars’ season in PK thriller
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Weston Ranch  Francisco Vega came up big, making a huge save in overtime and knocking down two penalty kicks to give No. 4 Weston Ranch the thrilling 2-2 (3-1 in shootout) win over No. 13 Pioneer in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III opener Tuesday night.
“We barely won, but we feel like we got a lifeline,” Cougars coach Francisco Cisneros said. “I’m extremely happy with our resiliency, grit and never-die attitude.
“We have been like this all season. There is a reason why we have only lost one game — we never, ever quit.”
The host Cougars (11-1-6) never led in regulation or overtime. The Patriots (9-8-1) of Woodland led 1-0 at halftime. In the second half, Bryan Rodriguez took an assist from Elvin Bolanos and tied the game at 1-1.  Pioneer recaptured the lead, and Kevin Urrutia-Hernandez knotted the score back up to force overtime.
Following two scoreless overtime periods, both teams missed their first two penalty kicks with Vega getting a save on the second Patriots attempt.
Armondo Garcia then gave the Cougars a 1-0 advantage, and Pioneer responded in kind to tie things at 1-1. Bryan Rodriguez put Weston Ranch ahead 2-1, Vega followed that with his second penalty kick save and Urrutia-Hernandez then iced the game to put things out of reach at 3-1.
No. 13 Wood of Vacaville defeated No. 5 Dixon and will face travel to Stockton to face the Cougars on Thursday at 6 p.m.

Division IV boys
Sierra 5, Venture Academy 0

Tristan Gonzalez scored a pair of goals in the first half for the No. 6 Timberwolves (10-8-2) and capped the scoring with a 35-yard blast late in the game for a hat trick at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium.
“Obviously, I intended to score on that last goal,” Gonzalez said. “But not the way that it went in.
“At first I was a little disappointed the way I struck it, but I looked up and saw it taking a bounce. Their goalie never moved and it ricocheted in off the ground for the goal.”
The No. 11 Mustangs of Stockton (9-9-2) trailed 3-0 at halftime.
Manny Magana and Fabian Barba added a goal apiece for Sierra. Audie Garza had two assists for the Timberwolves and Amun Singh one. 
 “A shutout is a good way to start the playoffs,” Sierra coach Joe Pires said. “We did not have a good finish on the regular season, so this is like a whole new mini-season.
“We missed a lot of goals early on. In the first 20 minutes we had six or seven open looks that should have gong in but didn’t. We were pretty much in control though and then we started scoring in bunches.”
The Timberwolves travel to Sacramento on Thursday for a quarterfinal contest against No. 3 Natomas at 6 p.m.

Division VI girls
Ripon Christian 4, Rio Vista 1

Rylie Nunes is back.
After being sidelined by an ACL injury her junior year, Nunes has been working her way into form since playing her first game in late December this season. The Knights senior paced top-seeded Ripon Christian (17-4-2) in opening round action against the visiting No. 8 Rams (7-13).
Nunes finished with a goal and two assists, finding Elle Van Wyngarden with a sharp pass 15 minutes into the game for a 1-0 lead. In the 30th minute Nunes bounced a shot off the inside of the far post on an assist from Van Wyngarden for a 2-0 halftime lead with the Knights outshooting Rio Vista 10-1 in the first half.
Three minutes into the second half defender Emma Kowes sent a long ball to Van Wyngarden and she outraced two defenders to score. In the 53rd minute Nunes controlled the ball in the box and passed to Rachel Oosterman who scored the Knights’ final goal. Rio Vista scored its lone goal in the final minutes of the game.
Ripon Christian will host No. 4 Ben Holt Academy of Stockton on Thursday at 6 p.m.