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SOCCER: Wong’s brace lifts Manteca to 1st win over Sierra since 2015
Manteca-Sierra girls soccer
Manteca's Caitlynn Wong gives the Buffaloes a 1-0 lead on a penalty kick. - photo by SEAN KAHLER

It was a long time coming.

Coming into Tuesday’s showdown with visiting Manteca, Sierra had not lost a Valley Oak League game since 2016 and not lost to the Buffaloes since 2015.

Those streaks ended Thursday night when Caitlynn Wong notched a brace, as Manteca blanked the Timberwolves 2-0 at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium.

“It was a great game,” Manteca coach Justin Coenenberg said. “Often times these are. The last game we played them we were more conservative and we thought if we played more defense and tried to eliminate Jocelin (Roa) — it’s tough to do because she is a great player — we would be able to score on a counter and we were not able to do that.

“We went into this game a little bit differently. We were going to be more aggressive and we were going to defend Jocelin together as a team, and the girls stuck to the game plan, they communicated and did a great job on defense limiting offensive opportunities for them. Sierra out-possessed us in the first half for a bit but we are the kind of team if we play smart we can stay in the game and play the counter game. We were trying to stay in front of them and we didn’t stab, we kind of waited for them to make mistakes.”

Wong got her first goal in the 11th minute when Cameron Silva drew a foul in the penalty box. Wong blasted the successive penalty kick for the 1-0 lead. With nine minutes left in the contest, she took a pass from Coraima Medina, outraced two Timberwolves defenders and blew by the charging Sierra goalie to find the empty net for a huge insurance goal and the 2-0 lead.

“I knew right where I was going to put that PK,” Wong said. “I am pretty confident with those shots.

“I knew once Coraima (Medina) passed me the ball on that second goal I had to sprint as fast as I could past those defenders to get our second goal and take the ‘W’ for Manteca.”

One shot for the Timberwolves (8-1 VOL, 13-4-1 overall) hit the crossbar, and Sierra did have a good play on the ball in the box on a cross late in the game. Other than that, the defense for Manteca (7-1, 16-3) did not yield many good looks.

Aleah Melendez was a key member of that back line for the Buffaloes.

“I think Yudi (Vega) did amazing,” Melendez said. “She was the glue to our team. She was our leader in locking down Jocelin (Roa).”

Timberwolves coach Manuel Pires acknowledged that Manteca was a team on a mission.

“Their goal was to keep the numbers on the back line,” Pires said. “They were super aggressive shutting our key strikers down — very physical with the yellow cards on their side — because they approached the game to take our team off of its game.

“You have to give it to them. Their defense did a super job shutting us down in the back. In the second half, we had some good opportunities but we couldn’t capitalize. They were definitely more hungry to win this game at this point right now.”

Sierra faces East Union Saturday morning at 10 at River Islands, and Manteca hosts Central Catholic on Tuesday at 6:45 p.m.


Junior varsity

Sierra 8, Manteca 0

Deuces ruled the day as four Timberwolves scored two goals apiece.

Alani Mullenix (assist), Weizeman Khan (assist), Jaylyn Ruiz and Maya Murillo each posted a brace for Sierra. Aman Dhillon tallied two assists and Emma Dunham one.