Manteca passed what head coach Justin Coenenberg called its “biggest test in the preseason so far” Wednesday when the Buffaloes knocked off visiting Tracy, 3-1.
Really, it’s been Manteca’s only test so far. It has faced three opponents — Venture/Excel Academy, Chavez and Escalon — since the season officially kicked off last Friday and the Buffaloes routed them by a combined 26-0 score.
The uptick in competition did little to slow junior forward Leah Manuleleua’s early-season roll. She played a part in all three goals scored by Manteca, accounting for two and assisting one.
“We were excited to play Tracy and I’m happy with the way the girls responded,” Coenenberg said. “We moved the ball really well and defended well. We worked on speeding things up a bit on the offensive third.”
Ashlee Miller used a cross from Manuleleua to boot the first goal just two minutes into the match. Tracy (1-1-1) tied it up late in the half before Manuelelua pushed the Buffaloes ahead for good, scoring off a throw-in from Lejla Pepic. Manuleleua’s insurance goal in the second half was set up by Jocelyn Reyes.
Manteca outshot the Bulldogs 32-13, and Buffaloes keeper Alysa Burch tallied three saves. Manteca had many opportunities to widen the gap but was thwarted by a talented goalie.
“Their goalie is unbelievable,” Coenenberg said. “One of the best high school goalies I’ve seen. We made some pretty legit shots and she made some great saves.”
Manteca begins its own Buffalo Cup against Bear Creek on Friday. The game is scheduled for a noontime start, and all matches will be played at Woodward Park.
East Union 3,
Buhach Colony 0
The reigning Sac-Joaquin Section Division III champion Lancers kick started their season with a dominant effort in Atwater.
Jenna Zuniga, Arianna Cardenas and Maddie Yslava each scored a goal, while Isabella Rivera had two assists. Buhach Colony was only able to muster one shot attempt all game.