MERCED — Conditioning paid off for Manteca on Tuesday.
The No. 3 Buffaloes scored a pair of overtime goals with Jordyn Silva assisting on each to defeat second-seeded host El Capitan 3-1 in semifinal action of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III girls soccer playoffs.
“We could tell they were gassed in overtime,” Manteca coach Justin Coenenberg said. “Our physical fitness has been a point of emphasis for us this year.
“Going into overtime we were jogging off the field and they were walking off. We talked about that and where we wanted to attack them and we created opportunities and it worked.”
The Buffaloes almost did not get a chance for overtime.
With seven minutes left in the second half and the score tied at 1-1, the Gauchos (16-6-2) drew a penalty kick only to bounce it off the crossbar. Manteca was able to clear the ball away from danger and held on for the rest of half, forcing the extra periods.
Trailing 1-0, the Buffaloes got on the board in the 42nd minute when Buffaloes workhorse Kaley Miller took a through ball from Silva and found the net to tie the game at 1-1. Miller put Manteca ahead 2-1 three minutes into overtime when Silva launched her a cross and Miller got the ball inside the far post, and Kaylee Gines made it 3-1 after Silva took the ball deep and got a negative ball back to Gines.
“We didn’t have the best first half,” Coenenberg said. “The field conditions were very poor. It was a very narrow field and we were playing sloppy in the first half. They were playing with a lot of depth, putting three defenders back on Miller.
“In the second half we inverted our midfielders and that seemed to create more opportunities. We were playing harder as well.”
Manteca will play No.4 Christian Brothers of Sacramento — a 2-1 winner over top-seeded Sierra — for the championship on Saturday at either Liberty Ranch in Galt or Whitney in Rocklin at a time to be determined.