Sierra missed on several scoring chances in the opening minutes of its nonleague affair with visiting Sonora and paid for it in the end.
The Wildcats snuck in two late goals to escape with a stunning 3-2 victory. The deciding strike came on the game’s final play, as a Sonora forward caught the Sierra backline on its heels to create an 1-on-1 opportunity.
“We were just caught in bad positions on their last two goals,” Sierra coach Joe Pires said. “On the final one the ball somehow got behind everyone, their guy punched it in and it was game over. We didn’t even take it back to the middle of the field.”
It’s a disheartening defeat for a young but promising Sierra squad that has dropped five of its first six matches. Sonora languished near the bottom of the Valley Oak League table in the past few years but hopes to be more competitive with its move to the small-school Mother Lode League. The Wildcats were 3-10-1 in the VOL (7-13-1 overall) a year ago.
The loss spoils two highlight goals converted by two of Sierra’s top players. Freshman Kevin Mendiola delivered the first goal of the contest with a head shot after Henry Diaz’s short-range blast was deflected high off the Sonora keeper. The Wildcats knotted it at 1-1 minutes later on a corner kick.
Cesar Martinez pushed the Timberwolves back ahead early inAthe second half with a strike Pires described as “pretty.” He controlled a cross from the right side with a textbook chest trap and drilled it over the defense and unsuspecting keeper with an accurate volley.
That was before Sonora turned the tables on the T’Wolves, who have a tough week ahead with the likes of West (Tracy) and defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division V champion Galt next on the schedule.
“We’re still trying a lot of different combinations on the field but we’re also missing too many opportunities,” Pires said. “Overall I like what the team is doing, we’re getting better every game. It’s still a young and inexperienced team and everyone is trying to find a rhythm. I’m not excited about losing the game, but every game we play we’re doing some things a little better.”
Galt 2, Weston Ranch 0
The Cougars (5-1) dropped their first defeat of the season in a battle of two 2013 section finalists.
Isaac Martinez scored both goals for the SJS’s reigning Division V champion, while Division IV finalist Weston Ranch played a man down for the majority of the match due to a red-card ejection. Martinez’s second goal of the opening half was a backbreaker, as it came on a counterattack just moments after the Cougars came up empty on a 1-on-1 opportunity.
“I’m proud of our guys, they gave a good effort,” Weston Ranch coach Francisco Cisneros said. “We were down a man most of the game but kept competing. Honestly, they gave us a bunch of opportunities to score we just couldn’t put the ball away today.”
Weston Ranch has two tough assignments today in the Gregori Tournament, where Atwater and Valley Oak League rival Oakdale await. The Cougars will then face Grace Davis on Saturday.