A true freshman from Manteca is playing a big part in the Minot State women’s soccer team’s historic 2012 season.
Breanne Hatfield, a four-year varsity player at Manteca High, and the Beavers will compete in the third-year program’s first-ever NCAA Division II National Tournament game today in Warrensburg, Mo. They drew the Central Region’s No. 4 seed Southwestern Oklahoma State (19-0-1) — the tournament’s lone unbeaten team that is ranked eighth overall by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
Minot State (15-3-3), seeded fifth, is in its first season as a full-fledged member of the NCAA’s Division II. It earned an automatic bid to nationals by upsetting Winona State 1-0 in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference title game this past Sunday. On Friday, the Beavers stunned then-No. 3 ranked Minnesota State — Mankato, 1-1 (3-2 PK shootout). The loss is Mankato’s first of the season.
Hatfield returned from a high-ankle sprain in time for the NSIC playoffs. She began the year as a starting defender and led the team in minutes played until suffering her injury in practice. The defense keyed Minot State’s run to the title, giving up just one goal in the semifinal and championship matches combined despite getting outshot 54-7. Hatfield played over 90 minutes in the overtime win against Mankato, and about two-thirds of the championship game.
She isn’t the only Manteca native enjoying the ride. Former Sierra High standout Araia Berhane is in his first season with head coach Jason Spain’s staff. He was Hatfield’s head coach during their time with the Manteca FC competitive soccer organization.