Sports in the News
Season Preview: Women's Soccer Kickin' It Just Fine With New Coach
For some programs, playing for a new head coach can be a slow transitional process where returning sophomores have to learn new team rules and learn to communicate with a different person in charge. For the Pasadena City College 2013 women's soccer team, the team's 10 returning lettermen don't have that issue under first-year head coach Reggie Rivas.
Rivas coached all of those sophomores as freshmen when he assisted then head coach Randy Lilavois during the Lancers' run to a 2012 regional playoff spot. Rivas is making an almost seamless move in becoming PCC's new leader this season.
"I ran the practices last year, so my familiarity with the sophomores is great," Rivas said. "We lost some key players to graduation, but we have a corps that made up a team that finished in second place last year. We set the bar to do better every year and that's our goal. We want to use our experience and depth to return to the playoffs."
The Lancers finished 12-5-5 last year and handed eventual CCCAA state champion Cerritos one of its two losses.
PCC brings back All-South Coast Conference midfielder Cassandra Saavedra, who was fourth in the league in goals scored with 13. Saavedra (from Alverno High) will move to forward and will be joined there by a talented freshman in Helena Macintosh, a newcomer from Arcadia High. Christine Salas, one of three new Lancers freshmen who played on Arroyo High's CIF-Southern Section Division 7 finalist team last year, also will compete at forward.
Maybe the team's bigggest strength is goaltending where the Lancers have perhaps their most talented duo ever defending the net. PCC returns Tatiana Sanchez, who posted a sparkling 1.13 goals against average and six shutouts. Sanchez (from Burbank Burroughs High) will team with freshman standout Angie Ulmer, who was the Rio Hondo League Most Valuable Goalie last year at South Pasadena High. Ulmer recorded seven shutouts and a school-record 31 blankings in her prep career.
The team's defender corps is led by returner Amanda Papac (Arcadia HS) and newcomer Bailey Shaw (Monrovia), who are expected to play at center back. Freshman Karina Costilla (Crescenta Valley High) has the inside track at right back while left back will feature a rotation of letterman Alexandra Martinez (Sierra Vista) and two Arroyo High products in Laura Rosales and Carmen Aguilar, an All-CIF selection. Adding to the defender depth is sophomore Mackenzie Winslow (Alverno).
The team's midfielders are led by returning starter Cassandra Orozco (Crescenta Valley, three goals, four assists last year) at defensive center. The attack centers include returners Isabella Montano (Glendale, one goal, three assists for PCC) and Alexandria Jimenez (Mark Keppel). PCC's left wings are slated to be Sara Oceguera (Blair High, Rio Hondo League honorable mention) and sophomore transfer Kaylin Richards (Glen Wilson High and City College of San Francisco). At right wing, returners Taylor Gore (Burbank HS, two goals, one assist) and Lizbeth Rodriguez (Sierra Vista, 1 goal and second on the Lancers in assists with seven) will see action.
The midfield depth continues with frosh newcomers in Carina Flores (Garfield High) and Bianca Martinez (Sierra Vista).
"I'm excited about getting to explore the tactical side of things in coaching matches," Rivas said. "We're playing in what I believe and other coaches know to be the toughest level league in the nation for community colleges in the South Coast Conference. From top to bottom, the teams are talented and every match is going to be a battle."
The team's assistant coaching staff is made up of associate head coach Grant Clark, a CIF title winner for the Crescenta Valley High boys team, Heidi Strauss, an assistant on Pasadena Poly's CIF State Southern California Regional Division III championship team earlier this year, and volunteer assistant Catrina Flores, who is a junior varsity girls coach at Crescenta Valley.
Rivas makes his PCC head coaching debut Friday, Aug. 30 when the Lancers open the season at the Ventura College Showcase Tournament in a 1 p.m. match against Orange Coast. PCC comes right back with an 11 a.m. start on Saturday, Aug. 31 v. West Valley.
The Lancers' home opener will be against Moorpark in a 5 p.m. match at Robinson Stadium on Friday, Sept. 6. The team's 14-match conference schedule won't begin until Tuesday, Oct. 1 at El Camino College (4 p.m.).
[Photo--file shot of All-SCC returning Lancer Cassandra Saavedra.]
Release Date: 08/27/13