By Lucas Almeida
With the 2012 season only a few days away, City College’s Women’s soccer team has been preparing since the beginning of the summer and has a solid group of returners.
The Rams’ head coach, Gabe Saucedo, recruited a blend of freshmen and sophomores that will give this year’s team the perfect chemistry and combination of skills to win the State Championship.
Key returning players are forward Stephanie Barragan, who scored eight goals and one assist last season, and Antonella Carrera, who also scoredeight goals and four assists.
The 2011 season had a heartbreaking ending when the Rams were defeated by Santiago Canyon 2-0 in the State Final four.
Despite that loss, last year’s season was also the Rams’ best, under Saucedo’s direction.
They won the Coast Conference North Division undefeated (13-0) and had an outstanding overall season (20-2-2). Saucedo holds a winning record of (42-15-10) and is going into his fourth year as head coach.
The loss against Santiago Canyon was a lesson in what it takes to win the State Championship, which is their main goal for this year, he said.
“The talent is there, our skill is there but we need to get stronger, we need to get faster and we need to get closer as a group and that’s what this summer was all about,” he said. “Having most of our players come back and be here this summer working really hard together really builds some great chemistry within the team.”
Feeling fit and more comfortable for the coming season, Barragan said she wants to be more of a leader and push the girls to be their best.
“They need somebody to keep pushing themselves, they need leaders,” she said. “They need somebody with more experience to let them know how it’s going to be (this season).”
Barragan added that since this is going to be her last year playing for the Rams, she has great expectations and plans “to be the best forward, top scorer and help the team with the wins.”
Barragan’s attacking partner returning forward Antonella Carrera will also be a key player for this year’s team.
Carrera said she thinks this year’s team is just as strong as last year’s and the fact that they have been practicing all summer long with the new players has made them bond on and off the field.
Now a sophomore, she said she knows what it takes to win the state championship.
Working hard until the end of the season will help the team make it to the state playoffs and win the championship, Carrera said.
Freshman defender Jojo Smyth came to City College from Chico and didn’t think twice about joining the team.
She said she is excited to be part of a strong team and she has big hopes this team can win the state championship.
For this season the biggest loss will be former City College forward Tera Piserchio who transferred to UCLA on a full scholarship. The former star was 2011 Coast Conference Player of the Year, 2010 1st Team Coast Conference and over two seasons playing for the Rams scored a total of 37 goals and 18 assists being No. 7 in the state as a field player.
Even though Piserchio and other key sophomore players left, Saucedo said he already sees in this new team the chemistry they had to build during last year’s season.
The Rams first game of the season will be August 23rd against San Francisco State University and will be held at SFSU. The scrimmage starts at 3pm.