STOCKTON — Senior Night was longer than it had been in recent years for Weston Ranch’s boys soccer team.
On Wednesday, the Cougars honored their 15 seniors before routing Manteca 6-1, but it also led to a lackluster start. The Valley Oak League’s top team finally came alive for a five-goal outburst in the second half.
“That pre-game ceremony took a while,” Weston Ranch coach Francisco Cisneros said. “To go from there to the game, it took us a while to get going. Manteca is a good team with a good players and they played really well in the first half. Fortunately, we came out in the second half and played better.”
The Cougars (10-1-1 VOL, 19-3-2 overall) led 1-0 at halftime thanks to Miguel Morales’ header off a Joseph Mayorca assist. Morales, a 6-foot-2 defender, buried another head shot in the second half to make it 3-0.
Jose Espinoza added one on a direct kick, and Mayorca tallied his 31st goal for the season. Goalie Jose Martinez stretched Weston Ranch’s lead to 5-1 on a penalty kick.
Ruben Hurtado scored the lone goal for Manteca (3-8-1, 6-11-1). The defense gave up an own goal to cap the final score.
With Sierra’s 4-1 upset loss to East Union, the Cougars have a little more breathing room atop the table but are faced with a tough week to close out the regular season. First is Monday’s trip to Oakdale, which earlier this season ended Weston Ranch league winning streak at 19 with a 4-1 stunner in Stockton. The Cougars also went 26 matches without a loss in league and were last defeated at home on Oct. 8, 2013.
A win on Monday clinches a second straight VOL title for the reigning Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV champions. After that is a date with Sierra. It’s a challenge Weston Ranch accepts as it prepares for the postseason.
“It’s exactly what we needed going into the playoffs,” Cisneros said.
Weston Ranch 7,
STOCKTON — Mario Martinez and Ariel Silva netted two goals apiece for Weston Ranch. Antonio Rodriguez, Jesus Espinoza and Leo Morales each added one.