Manteca’s Kaley Miller put on a clinic Wednesday night.
The Buffaloes forward tallied a hat trick in the game’s first 21 minutes and that was more than enough to lead No. 3 Manteca to a 3-1win over No. 14 Pioneer of Woodland in opening-round action of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III girls soccer playoffs at Guss Schmiedt Field.
“Coach talked to us before the game and he told us to come out hard and intense,” Miller said. “And that’s exactly what I wanted to do to bring it home for my team.”
Twelve minutes into the contest, Miller came back to get a pass from Esmeralda Ochoa and dribbled her way through the Patriots defense to get her first goal. Four minutes later, Miller got a through ball from Cameron Silva and drew the Pioneer goalie out, blasting the ball into the net for a 2-0 lead.
In the 21st minute, Miller took another through ball, this time from Yehudit Vega, and repeated her effort on her second goal to make the score 3-0.
Center-mid defender Caitlynn Wong led a stingy defense for the Buffaloes (18-2-4) with Manteca not allowing a goal for the Patriots (7-7-1) until the 75th minute when Jasmine Gray fired one across the Buffaloes goal, barely finding the net inside the post.
Aimee Meier tallied nine saves for Manteca.
“Our back held pretty strong,” Wong said. “They were a little dominant in the beginning because we were not connecting that much but in the second half we really pulled it together.”
Manteca coach Justin Coenenberg was disappointed with his team’s intensity after its early lead.
“We got comfortable,” Coenenberg said. “We got a little lax and we can’t do that.
“They are a good team and we kept them from scoring, but they played hard and created some scary opportunities on our defensive end. We play East Union on Friday and we have to come out better for that game.”
No. 11 East Union took to the road Wednesday and defeated No. 4 Golden Valley 2-1 in overtime, setting up the crosstown quarterfinal tilt with the Buffaloes on Friday at 6 p.m. at Guss Schmiedt Field.