Diaz scores 3 goals in UC Merced win

slynch@mercedsunstar.comOctober 7, 2012 

Claudia Diaz was having trouble containing her frustration.

The UC Merced striker spent the game's opening 45 minutes knocking on the Mills College goal line. Diaz missed just wide a couple times, put a few shots over the crossbar and buried more shots than she'd care to count into the chest of goalkeeper Tayla Musie.

But it was just a matter of time.

The sophomore finally broke through in the 55th minute on Saturday afternoon and rode that momentum to a second-half hat trick and a 4-0 Golden Bobcats victory at The Bowl.

"I was really frustrated," Diaz said. "I wasted a bunch of chances in the first half.

"As soon as I got the first goal the pressure eased up and it was easier to get the second and third."

Coming off the first conference win in school history, UC Merced (4-1) took a little while to get into its game. Once the Golden Bobcats did, Mills College barely touched the ball.

Sara Davallou gave the Cyclones fits down the right wing, pushing the ball up the field and providing some excellent service into the box.

Davallou helped get the scoring started, feeding a cross to Celina Valadez in the 20th minute. Valadez half-volleyed the ball to the far post to make it 1-0. Despite outshooting Mills 12-2 in the first half, the score remained that way at intermission.

"I just think it took us a while to settle down, start passing to feet and focus when finishing," Bobcats head coach Megan Atoigue said. "We knew we'd already beaten them, so maybe we didn't come out as hard as we should have."

UC Merced's dominance continued in the second half, with Diaz leading the way.

She broke through in the 55th minute when Malaysia Avery flicked on a Valerie Presiado punt with her head. Diaz was the first to react, racing free and roofing Musie with a blast from 25 yards out.

She was just getting started.

The sophomore made it 3-0 Bobcats in the 69th minute with a show of skill and a little bit of luck. Diaz volleyed a CC Vasquez corner kick near the top of the 18 and had her shot shoot straight into the air.

When it came down, the ball curled into the top left corner of the goal, just out of Musie's reach.

"I didn't even know it went in," said Diaz, who leads the team with 12 goals. "When it went straight up I turned my back. When everybody shouted I turned back around to see it in the net."

Diaz capped her afternoon with a teal and a blast in the 82nd minute, recording her second hat trick of the season.

Presiado had to make no saves, recording the first shutout in school history.

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