WNCC soccer ready for season | NevadaAppeal.com

WNCC soccer ready for season

Kevin Clifford/Nevada Appeal WNCC soccer player Jessica Maule, 19, runs after tagging a cone during an exercise activity called "star sprints" at Edmonds Sports Complex on Tuesday.

The Western Nevada Community College women’s soccer team has already met many of its goals heading into the program’s second season.

“We’ve accomplished some of our goals, coming in more fit, raising our skill level,” said second-year coach Hillary Arthur.

So it’s not surprising that expectations are high this year after WNCC went 6-6-3 and finished third in the Scenic West Athletic Conference. This year the team is looking to post a winning record and to contend for the SWAC title.

That should be a reasonable goal since conference Goliath Dixie State has moved up to Division II. That means the conference title could come down to Northern Idaho, which took second last year, and WNCC.

With a conference title, WNCC would qualify for the National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association playoffs. With a second place finish, WNCC could earn an at-large berth into the playoffs.

While WNCC did lose some players over the summer, Arthur said she feels comfortable about putting all 16 of her players on the field at any time. Arthur said the returning veterans have done a good job of “demanding that everyone gives their best out here so we can improve in practice.”

Arthur also takes pride in WNCC being ranked as the No. 12 team academically in the nation last year as the club had a grade point average well above 3.0.

“That’s just part of the program, doing well academically,” Arthur said. “It’s something that we strive for and take pride in. It’s not just a chance happening.”

This year’s team has plenty of speed. “We’ve got a lot of speed,” Arthur said. Here’s a look at the players on this year’s team:

Savannah Gray, forward – The Douglas High graduate was the team’s leading scorer last year.

“We’re looking for her to definitely be a force up there and to definitely put some goals in the back of the net,” Arthur said.

Christina Bradshaw, forward – Gray will be joined by her fellow Douglas graduate up front.

“She’s doing real well,” Arthur said. “With her heighth and physicality we’ll be able to do some damage up there.”

Virginia Loyola, forward – “She’s a very dynamic player,” said Arthur about the South Tahoe graduate.

“She’s so unpredictable with her feet. She has great touch. She’s very crafty up there.”

Demi Vega, midfield – “She has great speed down the sideline,” said Arthur about Vega, another returning veteran. “She’s really good at dribbling with her feet. She has a strong cross from the outside.”

Phalon Mauntel, midfield – Phalon is an outstanding defender who is able to “be patient and wait for the dribbler’s mistake.”

Courtney Lenhart, midfielder – “She’s got a great first touch,” said Arthur about the Douglas graduate. “She settles the ball very well.

“Great vision of the field and can distribute. Rocket of a shot outside the 18 (yards).”

Melissa Goldfin, midfielder – One of two WNCC players who was an all-conference selection, Goldfin is a force offensively and defensively.

“She’s a workhorse,” Arthur said. “She can just go and go. She’s everywhere on the field where the ball is.”

Megan Olson, midfielder – Arthur said when she watched the Douglas graduate play, she noticed “how composed she was with the ball. She was always calm and composed.

Sabrina Cantrell, midfielder – Arthur said the Dayton graduate, another returner, has developed excellent skills with her left foot and will be a weapon as a left midfielder.

“Her speed on teh left flank is great,” Arthur said. “Defensively she’s very patient.”

Alli Pyne, defender – “She’s just one of those kids that can get it done,” said Arthur about the Douglas graduate.

“Nothing fancy. Very consistent. She’s just one of those kids you know she’s going to get it out of the box.”

Jessica Maule, sweeper – Another returner, Arthur said the Douglas graduate is similar to Pyne in that she always gets the job done and wins the battle for the ball against opponents most of the time.

Hannah Lee, defender – “Hannah has great speed,” Arthur said. “She reads the field and the game really well. She’s just a brick back there.”

Dominique Gloude, defender – WNCC’s other returning all-conference player, Gloude is the team captain.

“She’s just the backbone of the team,” Arthur said. “She’s just mentally strong, physically tough. She’s just the quarterback of the team. A great leader.”

Courtney Hayes, goalie/midfielder – Arthurt said the Carson graduate’s height and agility will serve her well in both positions. Arthur also said Hayes “does a great job of distributing the ball.”

Allie Otto, goalie – “She’s aggressive in the box,” said Arthur about the Carson graduate. “I’m looking to see great things from her.”

WNCC hopes to have Rachelle Goulet, who is looking to have her eligibility reinstated, at goalie as well.

WNCC opens the season at 1 p.m. Sunday at Feather River. The Wildcats will play their home openers at 3 p.m. Sept. 1 against Cochise and at noon Sept. 2 against Lassen at Edmonds Park.