Sierra junior Jessica Cueca had a silent first half Friday night.
The second half was quite the contrary.
Sierra played inspired soccer during the final 40 minutes as Cueca put in the Timberwolves’ only score during a 1-1 Valley Oak League tie against East Union at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium.
Cueca almost won the game for Sierra (2-3-1 VOL, 6-5-3 overall) in stoppage time, too.
The shot sailed a foot to the right and EU (5-1-1 league, 12-1-1 overall) settled for a tie.
“It’s like kissing your sister,” East Union head coach Jim Todd said of the draw. “Sierra was full board the whole game. We just thought we could pour out some more (offensive) display.
“There was just too much clearing, clearing all over the field.”
Sierra trailed the Lancers at the half, 1-0. EU was on a hot streak, winning four consecutive matches prior to Friday.
East Union set the tone early and played dominant defense during the first 40 minutes.
EU’s Kianna Lamont and Rachel Sianez did a solid job of keeping their goalie Adrieanna Wood’s uniform clean and away from dangerous situations.
Junior Meghan Wallace provided the 1-0 cushion for the Lancers 20 minutes into the contest. EU doubled Sierra’s shot total in that first half as well.
During the second half, though, Sierra played inspired.
“We were just a little off with executing our plays,” Sierra head coach Manuel Pires said. “Everybody really stepped it up in the second half. We won more 50/50 balls and moved the ball to the players we needed to.
“Unfortunately we didn’t get that second goal, but all around we played with a lot of heart and desire here. It was a great game and (East Union) is a great team.
“A point is good. Unfortunately it wasn’t three.”
Sierra’s Tiffany Quezeda, who assisted Cueca’s goal in the 45th minute to tie the game, also had a chance to win it in the 76th and 88th minute.
Alexis Young found Quezeda with a solid pass, but EU’s Wood was there in minute No. 76. Quezeda’s shot in the final moments of the match was a penalty kick.
Sianez also had a chance to score in the second half. She too was rewarded a penalty kick during this physical contest that saw two ejections. Sierra freshman goalie Emma Broderick made the save on Sianez’s attempted score.
“We were able to hold the play in our half of the field,” Pires said. “I know we can play this way every game, but it’s just a matter of believing. We need points anyway we can get them.
“There are still a lot of games to go.”
Sierra will be at Oakdale on Wednesday, while EU will be visiting Lathrop.
East Union recorded a 1-0 victory over Sierra and improved to 6-0 in the league standings.
Atalie Cardenas scored the game’s only goal for the Lancers (28 shots on goal) in the first half. Faith Lopez finished with six saves.