Devon Alvarenga is making up for lost time after missing much of the pre-league schedule with an ankle injury.
Weston Ranch’s senior striker produced his first hat trick of the season, leading the Cougars to a dominant 5-1 win over Manteca that puts them in a second-place tie in the Valley Oak League. It sets up a pivotal home match with Sierra next Monday. Both teams trail East Union by a point.
“Ever since he’s been back he has done an excellent job,” Weston Ranch coach Francisco Cisneros said of Alvarenga. “He’s a threat every time he touches the ball. As we are getting healthier we are getting better and better every day.”
Alvarenga scored the first goal of the match, but it was tied at 1-1 by halftime with Manteca answering on a penalty kick in the 26th minute. Weston Ranch (4-1-1, 4-8-3) turned up its play for the final 40 minutes.
Just two minutes into the second half, Ariel Silva pushed the Cougars ahead off a feed from Robert Gonzalez.
Alvarenga scored again in the 50th and 51st minutes with Vidal Garcia setting up those goals. Gonzalez punched one in late to cap the final score.
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MODESTO — Lathrop (1-3-1, 4-7-2) missed on golden opportunities in the opening 15 minutes, including one open-net attempt and another 1-on-1 breakaway went wide of the post.
“It was one of those games,” Lathrop coach Alfredo Reynaga said. “We started out fine, just couldn’t put the ball in the net.”
Central Catholic (1-3-1, 2-5-3) notched the lone goal on a counter attack midway through the first half.
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Juan Carrillo and Victor Torres each buried a pair of goals, while Hector Alvarez contributed two assists for the Spartans.