Sierra’s 3-1 victory over Sonora on senior night Thursday served two purposes for the Timberwolves, who clinched a postseason berth while jumping into a first-place tie with rival Manteca with two Valley Oak League matches remaining.
Four-year standout Erick Noriega tallied two second-half goals, one on a free kick in the 56th minute, and the other off an assist from Ruben Lopez during the waning minutes. Nicholas Gonzalez played a part in Sierra’s first goal in the opening half, as his hard cross from the right goal line was deflected in by a Sonora defender.
Noriega, Gonzalez and Lopez were among nine seniors who were honored before the game.
“It was Erick’s final league home game and he really took that to heart,” Sierra co-head coach Brett Parham said. “He played with a lot of emotion and intensity.”
Sierra (8-1-3, 12-2-4 overall) will need to muster more of that play for the final stretch. The Timberwolves end the regular season with road games at Lathrop and Weston Ranch next week. Lathrop is in a fight for the third and final Sac-Joaquin Section playoff berth and will look to avenge a 1-0 defeat to Sierra.
“We have a very good Lathrop team coming up and we’ll be at their house,” Parham said. “There is a lot on the line on Tuesday. We’re trying to finish as high as possible to get a (first-round) home game, but there is a lot of work to do.”
East Union 7, Kimball 0
The Lancers (4-3-5, 7-4-6) got a much-needed win, their first since Oct. 2. They now trail third-place Oakdale by three points in the standings while leapfrogging Lathrop and Sonora.
Alfredo Solorzano paced EU with a hat trick, scoring in the 16th, 22nd and 43rd minute. Scott Fisher added two goals, while Jose Luis Marmolejo and Jairo Baires added one apiece.
East Union wraps up the regular season with Sonora at home Tuesday and Manteca across town next Thursday, Oct. 25.
Oakdale 7, Weston Ranch 3
In Oakdale, Weston Ranch had a chance to play spoiler while still down 3-2 in the first half. The Mustangs (6-4-2, 9-11-3) snuck a goal in with just seconds to go until halftime, and the rout was one.
William Giron struck for two goals, and Enrique Jimenez fired the third for Weston Ranch (1-9-2, 3-13
Weston Ranch 5, Oakdale 1
Weston Ranch (11-0-1) is closing in on its first league soccer title after Thursday’s blowout victory.
Jojo Mayorca fired three goals, while Pancho Monroy and Victor Munoz each netted one.