WNCC soccer class introduced

Kristel Thompson enjoyed a highly successful senior soccer season for Dayton High School last fall. But after going down with an ACL injury during basketball practice in early December, Thompson figured her days as a soccer player were over.

She figured she would enroll at the University of Nevada in the fall and concentrate on studies, most likely criminal justice. But the desire to keep on playing soccer still flickered, and she jumped when the door of opportunity opened at Western Nevada Community College. On Friday, Thompson was one of eight athletes introduced as part of WNCC's first women's soccer recruiting class during a signing ceremony in the Dini Student Center.

Among the signees were Sabrina Cantrell and Thompson of Dayton and Fallon's Jessica Laca. Rounding out the list of signees were four players from Las Vegas and one from Southern California. Rachelle Goulet, Phalon Mauntel and Dominique Gloude signed from Silverado High and Demi Vega from Palo Verde in Las Vegas and Cynthia Castillo from Quartz Hill High near Palmdale, Calif.

Thompson was obviously excited.

"I didn't have any idea. I didn't think I had the skills to play in college so I think this is a huge opportunity, not only for us (Dayton athletes), but for all the high school seniors around here," she said.

Thompson will have knee surgery later this spring, which will keep her on the sidelines until at least the 2006 season, but she plans to be involved in helping the team this fall.

Goulet is a featured signee who is coming off a senior season at Silverado in which she was honored as an All-Sunrise Region and All-Southern Nevada goalkeeper. She had received offers from such four-year programs as Nevada, UNLV and Arizona, but decided on WNCC instead.

"It's been my dream to play college soccer since I was a little kid," Goulet said. "I liked WNCC because it's close, yet far enough away from home that I'll be getting away.

"It presents a challenge," she said of the first-year team. "But after meeting these girls here today, I feel we're going to have a good team."

This is also an opportunity for three long-time Silverado teammates to continue playing together. A fourth player, Maritza Espinoza, is also considering coming to Carson City.

"We've all known each other for a long time. We were all pulled up to varsity our freshman year and we won some championships together," Goulet said of the Silverado Skyhawks, who won the 2004 Sunrise Region championship and finished second behind rival Green Valley in the regional tournament last month.

"I feel very fortunate to have her," Arthur said. "She is everything I want in a keeper - tenacity, aggressive, and the leadership to direct the defense. She is a presence on the field."

Friday's signings marked another step forward for a team preparing for its first season. Arthur was hired as head coach on Jan. 18, which left her in a position of playing catchup considering the NJCAA national signing date was on Dec. 1. She definitely had to hit the ground running.

"I was sprinting," Arthur said.

The coach went on to praise the crop of recruits, noting that she hopes to carry 18 to 20 players. "They're good players who have all done well academically," she said.

WNCC SIGNEES

Rachelle Goulet, goalie, Silverado: An all-league performer the last two years who posted 32 career shutouts in four years. Team co-captain.

Phalon Mauntel, forward, Silverado: Part of a Silverado team that was 14-3-4 this season and lost in the regional finals to Green Valley.

Dominique Gloude, defense, Silverado: An all-region and all-league player who was a team co-captain with Goulet.

Sabrina Cantrell, midfield, Dayton: A Wendy's High School Heisman Award nominee and three-sport athlete. She was co-captain for Dayton's soccer team.

Kristel Thompson, forward, Dayton: Soccer co-captain with Cantrell who scored 20 goals last season. Placed second in the pole vault at last year's 3A state track and field meet. An honors student who came to Dayton High from Hawaii (Moanalua High).

Cynthia Castillo, midfield/defense, Quartz Hill: A player with a "great attitude, who will play left wing" according to Arthur. Quartz Hill was league champion in 2004 and finished second at 10-1-1 this year.

Jessica Laca, midfield, Fallon: A hard worker who has good vision of the field, according to Arthur, "and when the ball is in the air, nobody is better."

Demi Vega, mid/defense, Palo Verde: Palo Verde lost to Centennial 3-1 in Southern 4A finals on Feb. 19. Lost in Southern 4A final in 2004 as well. A versatile and intelligent player, according to Arthur.

n Contact Dave Price at dprice@nevadaappeal.com or call 881-1220.

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