Sierra escapes East Union with controversial win
It wouldn’t be a Sierra Eastern Union girls soccer game without drama.
The visiting Timberwolves clung to a one-goal lead with 12 minutes remaining at Dino Cunial Field on Monday when Chloe Silva lined the line for an East Union penalty kick.
Sierra goalkeeper Annika Beall blocked the kick but did not have possession of the ball. Silva covered the deflection and plowed the ball into the back of the net to seemingly tie the game.
Not so fast.
To the chagrin of a very animated East Union coaching staff, the referee ruled that Silva could not be the first Lancer to touch the ball after a goal shift on a penalty kick. East Union’s coaches argued loudly and repeatedly that this was the wrong application of the rule.
Their pleas fell on deaf ears, and Sierra (3-2-3 VOL, 10-6-3 overall) escaped with three precious points in a 1-0 victory. The Lancers (2-4-2, 5-11-4) dropped to fifth place, one point behind Manteca for the fourth and final playoff spot. East Union has two league games left, Manteca three.
East Union Athletic Director JJ Ramirez said the team will see if a protest is possible. A review of the 2022-2023 Football Guide indicates that according to the National Federation of High School Football rules, protests are not allowed.
Lancers coach Jason Silva knew not getting that point was huge.
“We struggled the whole game,” Silva said. “It was a good game going back and forth. Every coach in the league says all year that every point counts. It’s such a tight league that if we don’t have this one point, we could potentially drift out of the playoffs.
“It’s a shame, but we have to prepare for Kimball on Wednesday and see what happens. But it definitely hurts not to get a point here, and we didn’t take advantage of some of the opportunities we had, but it was a good game. We fought. It was fun to play when it wasn’t all muddy like last time. But it was a frustrating outcome for sure.”
Timberwolves coach Manuel Pires knew he would have his hands full with East Union.
“We knew it was going to be a battle until the end,” Pires said. “We finally got that ball in the back of the net in the second half.
“Payton Abrew played a great game. She created that opportunity and was able to put it into action. We had an opportunity to blow the game wide open with a PK and we missed it. It was a crazy game, but that’s how these games go.”
After a scoreless first half, 14 minutes into the second half, Abrew dribbled through a crowded area to the front of the Lancers net and drove the ball in for the game’s only goal.
“EU is one of our major opponents,” Abrew said. “We’ve lost a lot of players since last year, so we knew we had to come out and give everything we had to beat them.
“I’m good with my footwork and I saw an opportunity so I knew I could do it. I took the shot and it went in.”
Lancers goalkeeper Madelynn Miske made six saves. After an uneventful first 40 minutes, Sierra’s goal for Annika Beall held up four second-half saves, including the one on the penalty kick.
“In a PK, my No. 1 goal is to try my best to get in her head,” Beall said. “I look her right in the eye, I clap my hands, I try to be as big a distraction as I can because usually that makes her kick the ball right at me, and that’s what happened tonight.
“I knocked it down, but I should have caught it.”
East Union wraps up the league schedule with a game in Tracy against second-place Kimball on Wednesday and next Monday in Modesto at last-place Central Catholic. Both games are at 6:45 p.m
Sierra hosts Central Catholic on Wednesday night before wrapping up league play next Monday night at Manteca. Both games are at 6:45.
Sierra 6, East Union 2
Jessica Miranda scored a hat trick for the Timberwolves.
Peyton Duarte, Anayla McDonald and Maitland Kohoutek each added a goal for Sierra with Debroah Villalobos, Mele Sanchez and Kohoutek notching two assists each.
Giselle Reyes scored both goals for the Lancers.