Baptism under fire.
A midfielder by trade, Manteca’s Richie Parra stepped into the net Wednesday and absorbed a barrage of shots from Sierra, making nine saves while the Timberwolves fired 18 attempts his way.
When the long whistle sounded the end of the contest neither team had scored a goal, resulting in a 0-0 tie in Valley Oak League play at Guss Schmiedt Field.
“I have said it all year long,” Buffaloes coach Daniel Guevara said. “We have a great team with great talent, but we just haven’t had things going our way. And this proves it — we can stand up with anybody in our league. I am very proud of the boys. They played hard. We were definitely underdogs.
“My starting goal keeper was ill today. Richie Parra came up and told me he wanted to play keeper today and he rose to the challenge.”
Parra even withstood a penalty kick that bounced off the crossbar.
“I’m normally a midfielder,” Parra said. “Our goalie was sick so I had to step up today and do the job.
“Our defense helped me out a lot today.”
With three minutes left in the first half, Parra came out of the box to pressure a Timberwolves defender, leaving the net empty. Esteban Alberto filled the void for Manteca (0-11-1 VOL, 0-16-1 overall), heading the shot away from the frame.
“The goalie went out to pressure,” Alberto said. “So I had to go back and cover and help out just in case.
“I was pretty sure I had that block – I was right in front of the goal.”
With East Union’s win over Weston Ranch on Wednesday, the first-place lead for Sierra (9-1-2, 13-4-3) over the Lancers has been reduced to two points, 29-27.
“I am very disappointed, of course,” Timberwolves coach Joe Pires said. “We were trying to get some points but when you play a team that has nothing to lose they play freely and they were playing at home. They parked the bus back there and we had quite a lot of opportunities but we just couldn’t get it in.
“You have to give it to Manteca. They played with a lot of heart. Our game was not one of our best and it didn’t have a lot of fluidity to it. We just didn’t have any rhythm. Guys were celebrating before the game was even played and it came back to bite them.”
Sierra 4, Manteca 3
Andrew Banegas scored two goals for the Timberwolves with Mateo Moran-Garcia and Francisco Becerra scoring one each.
Axel Rios posted two saves for Sierra with Jorge Silva and Kevin Hernandez chipping in one apiece.
Jonathan Arranda put up a hat trick for the Buffaloes with three goals. Luis Covarrubias, Javier Flores and Jacob Funsch each had an assist for Manteca and teammate Shawn Stearns made eight saves.