Girls Soccer: Teams relish challenging pitch prospects
by Bob Brownne
Feb 22, 2013 | 3865 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Girls soccer season set to start
Tracy High goalie Gabriella Tassano makes a diving stop during practice Wednesday, Feb. 20.  Glenn Moore/Tracy Press
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The varsity girls soccer teams from Tracy and Millennium high schools hope to outpace their accomplishments from 2012, while Kimball High hopes to break through with a combination of an experienced core and group of newcomers.

West and Delta Charter, meanwhile, aim to create consistency in 2013.

Tracy High

Coach Nate Perry figures that last year’s championship team is just a glimpse of what’s in store for the Bulldogs.

The 2012 Tracy varsity team went 18-3-2 overall and 8-0-2 in the San Joaquin Athletic Association, the first year the Bulldogs have gone undefeated in league play since Perry’s father, Joe Perry, started coaching Bulldogs soccer in 1982.

It was enough to win the SJAA, and the team eventually reached the semifinals of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs.

But the future is bright, as the Bulldogs return 10 varsity players and have filled the 19-position roster with girls who have played consecutive 19-0 junior varsity seasons.

“We feel pretty blessed with all of these talented soccer girls,” Perry said. “This year, we stand an even better shot at making a run in playoffs.”

Perry expects to field skilled players at every position.

“They’ll have to play as a team to beat the more elite teams in the state,” Perry said. “We won’t rely on that one player to get us three goals or that one defender to shut out the whole team.”

Senior midfielder Kaitlyn Crone said pre-league matchups with Valley Oak League leaders East Union, Oakdale and Sierra will help the Bulldogs perfect the speed and accurate passing needed to beat SJAA rivals Lincoln and Lodi.

Junior forward Kelly Brooks said the varsity level will be more intense than JV play, but team chemistry should carry the younger players through.

“We’ve clicked already,” Brooks said. “I think we’ll be just fine.”

Kimball High

Coach Ron Hattley reached into the younger classes to fill the 2013 varsity roster.

“We have room for a lot of new kids to come in and we got an influx of strong freshmen,” Hattley said.

He expects to have three freshmen as starters but balancing the roster with experience are five seniors who started with the Jaguars as freshmen when Kimball fielded only a junior varsity team.

They include outside defender Lizzie Dawson, who said their introduction into the Valley Oak League was rough, but after three years the team knows what to expect.

“We’ve got our members from last year, but we have so many new players that have so much potential to grow and change,” Dawson said. “It will change the dynamics of the team in passing and scoring.”

Other fourth-year players are fullback-striker Adaurie Dayak, midfielder-forward Amber Lennier and goalkeeper Tayler Lennier, all of whom have committed to college teams. Senior striker-fullback Marissa Paz is also in her fourth year, and third-year varsity players include senior defender Rachel Johnson and junior midfielder Mireya Magana.

The Jaguars placed fifth in the VOL last year with a record of 6-5-3 (14-6-3 overall). Their only league loss by more than one goal was a 3-0 defeat by champion East Union.

Millennium High

Senior defender Daisey Aguayo said her teammates understand how important it is to tune into one another on and off the field.

Playing as a unit has landed the Falcons consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section Division VII titles, though the team has had three different coaches since Aguayo was a freshman.

“It’s important to have chemistry outside the field, which creates a better team overall,” Aguayo said. “We listen to each other more and talk to each other on the field too.”

The Falcons bring back 10 girls from 2012, when they went 14-2-1 overall and 7-1 in the Central California Athletic Alliance.

New coach Jason Freeman — a substitute teacher at Millennium High — said it’s an ideal situation. He hopes to lead the Falcons to a third straight section championship and said he’s fortunate he can strategize without teaching the basics.

“I almost have a fear that if we don’t go all the way to the end that we’re falling short,” Freeman said. “There is very strong leadership on this team. It’s amazing that the practices can almost pretty much run themselves.”

West High

This year’s Wolf Pack is relatively young — there are only three returning seniors among the team’s 21 players, and three more sophomores who played on the varsity as freshmen.

It’s a familiar situation for coach Abel Dorado, who, like last year, adds at least three freshmen onto the varsity lineup to create a foundation for the future.

“Now we have to regroup again,” Dorado said. “It’s tough, but that’s OK. We’ll try our best.”

West struggled through the pre-league season in 2012 but improved going into Tri-City Athletic League play to go 3-6-1 (3-13-1 overall).

Senior defender Ashley Arata said that by the end of the season, she wasn’t intimidated or discouraged when the Wolf Pack faced formidable teams like St. Mary’s, the defending Sac-Joaquin Section Division I champion.

She said the team gained confidence by putting consistent pressure on other teams.

“I feel like we’re going to be good this year,” she said. “Just keep your head up, and the team will do better.”

Senior midfielder Estefani Gomez added that confidence led to better teamwork.

“At the beginning we had trouble, but this team will do better,” she said. “We’re actually a team and a family.”

Also returning as a senior is Nancy Ramirez. Returning sophomores are Amanda Beck, Pakezza Azizpor and goalie Saman Latifi.

Delta Charter High

One of the new members of the Delta Charter girls soccer team, coach Amy Schut, sees the 2013 season as a chance to reboot the year-old girls program.

“It’s a lot of working and getting them together as a team,” said Schut, a science teacher at the school. “We’re starting from scratch, most definitely.”

The Dragons went 0-9-2 overall and 0-7-1 in the Central California Athletic Alliance in their inaugural season.

Senior fullback Mallory Clemens, one of three returning players, said the team is beginning to jell.

“It’s exciting because we have new people and we all get to come together like one big family,” she said. “It proves that we’re willing to put a good name out for our team and our school.”

Sophomore forward Andi Aguilar, also back from 2012, said since the new players have experience from playing on competitive teams, they just have to learn to work together with her, Clemens and returning sophomore Emma Richardson.

• Contact Bob Brownne at 830-4227 or
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