It didn’t take Joanna Ortiz very long to give the Sierra Timberwolves the lead it would need to secure a road victory over the Sonora Wildcats Wednesday afternoon.
With the help of a squad that moved the ball around at-will, Ortiz found the back of the net three times during the Valley Oak League matchup that has tremendous post-season implications. Sierra is currently in second place in league standings behind Oakdale with East Union and Kimball tied for third.
“It’s always important to win, but it’s especially important up there because it’s never an easy place to come up to and walk out with a win,” Sierra head coach Manuel Pires said. “After today we have two more games left in the season, and it’s very important that we play like we can in each one.”
Sierra (7-1-4, 12-2-6) led the contest 4-0 at the half.
Sydnee Canales helped boost the Sierra score with a pair of goals of her own, and Stephanie Vanni showed her versatility by tickling the twine as well as adding a pair of assists. Asia Cortez rounded out the scoring with her first goal of the season.
“Today Joanna played really well,” Pires said. “The whole team was able to move the ball, and she had the opportunities to put the ball away and she did that. I was really happy to see her execute when she had the chance.”
It was all Sammie Morris in the Buffaloes VOL win over Lathrop, as she connected for the club’s first four goals and assisted the final two on a day she won’t likely forget anytime soon.
“She played really well today,” Manteca head coach Justin Coenenberg said of her performance. “She had a total of seven shots on goal and she scored on four of them.
“She played very solid, very physical; she was making great runs up top and got rewarded with some great balls and passes where she was able to connect.”
Morris scored in the game’s 14th, 26th, 36th and 45th minutes, while dishing out assists on goals scored by Rocio Lopez and Brittany Costa.
Manteca (7-4-1, 13-6-2) is still adamantly clutching to its postseason aspirations, needing a strong showing against league front-runner Oakdale on Tuesday to keep itself in the loop.
“This is a huge game,” Coenenberg said. “Last time they got us 2-0, but both goals were scored in the first half. We started out a little slow and we are definitely a different team. The way our defense is rolling, we’ve only give up one goal this second half of league, I am pretty fired up for the chance.
“Our defense is playing really well and that is going to be huge for us to hang with Oakdale.”
The Cougars responded to a quick Oakdale score, but proved incapable of matching the potent Oakdale offensive attack goal-for-goal Wednesday in the two clubs VOL match.
Adrianna Rodriguez tied the game up at 1-1 with her unassisted goal in the game’s 17th minute, but Oakdale would respond with its second goal and put things out of reach with a last-second goal to close out the first half.
The Cougars found themselves down 3-1 going into the intermission and had no answer.
Weston Ranch will be back on the pitch Monday when they make the trip to Tracy to take on Kimball High.
The two teams tied for third in the Valley Oak League standings were supposed to square-off Wednesday but both coaches decided to postpone the matchup until Friday after Tracy’s Kimball High request that the game be moved.
Instead of being played in Tracy as scheduled, it will be played on Dino Cunial Field Friday night at 6:30 p.m.
Manteca Bulletin reporter Jason Campbell contributed to this report