Women’s Soccer: The Monarchs are looking forward to writing a new chapter in Valley College’s women’s soccer program history.
By Jorge Belon, Editor in Chief
On the eve of the start of the 2014 season, the Lady Monarchs run practice and take their team photos. There is a slight breeze hitting Monarch Field on a Thursday afternoon, the team is all smiles and Head Coach Greg Venger can’t help but be excited for the opener that lies less than 24 hours away.
“I think we have had over 40 practices this off season, and we are just excited,” Venger said. “I just can’t wait for tomorrow, we (the coaching staff) have seen this team train so hard over the summer and they’re ready for this season, not to mention they (the players) are excited to play San Diego [City College] tomorrow.”
The team currently has 21 players on the roster, and most of the players are freshmen. Even though the majority of this squad is inexperienced, the five returning players were starters last year, and Venger will be depending on them to lead Valley this season.
The players coming back this season are: defender/goalkeeper Charlene Parrales, midfielder Lupe Ramos, defender Monica Roldan, defender Amy Van Leeuwen and starting goalkeeper Athena Del Rosario.
However, for the moment only four of the veterans will be wearing the green shirt tomorrow.
Parrales is recovering from tearing her ACL at the end of last season; she will not be able to play until the end of Sept.
“I should be able to play again by the [end] of Sept., I am hoping,” Parrales stated. “I am running and being active, I just have not been medically cleared yet, so that is what I am waiting on.”
The Lady Monarchs are stacked all over the field, particularly in the midfield where they currently have 10 players competing for the starting job. Venger wants to play either a 4-4-2 or a 4-3-3 with the main goal of keeping possession of the ball to control the tempo of the game and their attack. The healthy competitive competition within the midfield is keeping the coaching staff anxious to see this team play.
In the back, they have eight defenders and three of them are returning starters. Though the defense is where Valley College fell apart in 2013, allowing 38-goals and letting the opposing teams take at least 2.5-shots per-game.
Even with Del Rosario making 136-saves last season and averaging a .768 save percentage, the Monarchs still allowed nine goals in the final five games. However, Del Rosario believes that the coaching staff scouting in the off season solved the issue of the defense.
The red flag to the coaches’ off season scouting was not getting a backup goalie. As a result of that, the coaching staff has converted Parrales into a hybrid player that can play both defense and goalie if needed. But the sophomore will not be able to back up the starter until the end of this month if she gets the green light to play again.
“There is a lot of pressure on me to stay healthy since I am not going to have a back up this season,” Del Rosario said about being the only full-time goalie this season. “However, I am up for the challenge, and optimistic that this team will make the playoffs and make history at Valley.”
The Lady Monarchs open their 2014 season on Friday at Monarch Stadium at 2 p.m. against San Diego City College.