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2014 PCC Preview: Defense A Strength For Women's Soccer

2014 PCC Preview: Defense A Strength For Women's Soccer image

Now in his second season as head coach, Reggie Rivas has put together a blended roster of newcomers and returners that should make the 2014 Pasadena City College women's soccer team a formidable group. 

Rivas was an assistant when the Lancers last reached the postseason in 2012 and he said he felt last year's 7-6-7 finish was part of a "learning season" for him in his rookie head coaching role at PCC.

"We lost a few key players to injuries and, then we struggled scoring goals. We had to adjust our style of play," Rivas said of his 2013 Lancers team that placed fourth in the difficult South Coast Conference. "I felt like recruiting was a No. 1 priority going into this season and we've picked up some talented newcomers. Our defense is an absolute strength, better than last year. We're figuring we'll generate enough offense to win close games."

Rivas returns All-SCC Second Team defender Bailey Shaw-Rodriguez as well as 2012 all-conference defender Danielle Busta, who red-shirted last year due to injury. The defense is further complemented by the return of 2013 starting goalie Angelique Ulmer and '12 starter Tatiana Sanchez. The pair put together the two lowest goals against average seasons by a full-time starter in PCC history--Ulmer with a 1.04 mark last year and Sanchez 1.27 two seasons ago. Ulmer recorded seven shutouts, tying a PCC single-season mark. 

Other lettermen include starting defender Karina Costilla, forwards Sara Oceguera and Christine Salas, midfielder Carmen Aguilar, and forward Adriani Andrews, who was a returner from the '12 Lancers postseason team.

The freshmen crop appears to be one of the best in the past decade. Leading the talented corps are center midfielder Rachel Schroeder (Arcadia High), who played on three Pacific League champion teams and was a CIF Southern Section Division 3 All-Star Game participant, midfielder Talin Kojababian, a team MVP for Glendale Hoover High (attended La Crescenta's Clark Magnet, a school that does not offer interscholastic sports), and forward Alexandra Bissell, a top performer from Pete Knight High in Palmdale.

Other impact freshmen or probable first-year starters are defender Michelle Morales (Burbank High, All-Pacific League First Team), defender Katie McGuire (Arcadia), play-making midfielder/forward Ani Hemelians (Crescenta Valley High), and defender/midfielder Erika Miranda (East Bay High, Florida). 

Freshmen rounding out the 24-player Lancers roster are midfielders Melissa Garcia and Mabelyn Morales (both Fairfax High), defender Rebecca Caamano (Arroyo High), defender/goalie Hillary Kahn (Walled Lake Western, Michigan), midfielder Arianna Nuñez (Glendale High), midfielder/goalie Ashley Hermosillo (Arcadia), defender Margarita Muñoz (Blair), and forward Elena Heuze (European International School, Manila, Philippines). 

Rivas' assistant coaching staff returns associate head coach Grant Clark and Heidi Strauss. Volunteer assistant Michelle Weir joins the staff in her first season.

"Power points are what determine the playoffs spots in the region so that makes all games important, not just the conference ones," Rivas said. "Our goal is to make it into the postseason, but the players have to mesh and make it happen. We play on the road our first six matches and that in itself is a big test for us."

The Lancers open the '14 campaign on Friday, Aug. 29 when they face San Diego Miramar in a 5:45 p.m. game as part of the annual Ventura Showcase Tournament. PCC plays again at Ventura College on Saturday, Aug. 30 in a 9:30 a.m. contest against Hartnell.

Here's a link to the entire 2014 women's soccer schedule: 

http://www.pasadena.edu/athletics/schedule.cfm?dept=soccerw

[File Photo--Bailey Shaw-Rodriguez is a returning All-SCC defender on the 2014 Lancers women's soccer team.]

Release Date: 08/26/14
Robert Lewis, Sports Information
Phone: 626-585-7018, Email: rmlewis@pasadena.edu