Hawks’ women’s soccer 2011: Aiming for the top

Last season, Cosumnes River College’s women’s soccer team finished with a 14-5-5 record, but they fell short in the third round of the regional playoffs against Santa Rosa Junior College.

This year, the team’s hopes and expectations are high, with six starters returning including 2009 All-American MVP forward Dani Arellano, who helped lead the Hawks to the final round of the playoffs as a freshman two years ago.

Head Coach Cesar Plasencia said they have a decent chance of staying at the elite level of the Big 8 conference with several experienced returning players, as well as some “really sharp freshmen who should have some really big seasons,” he said.

One of the first year players looking to make an impact this season is goalkeeper Claudia Lara. She said that she feels pressure not only to be a good goalkeeper and lead the team as far as possible, but also to simply stay healthy with the team lacking a backup goalkeeper this year.

“I want to be quicker at what I do, and to be able to direct my defense to where they need to be at the correct time,” Lara said.

As a team, Lara said that this group of players have already shown chemistry that is rare at the beginning of the season.

“My goal is to get our team to have an even stronger bond, where we would be able to know how we all play without having to call it or see each other,” Lara said.

Arellano faces a different challenge, she took the year off to have her second child.

“I definitely need to get back in shape, I’m still trying to catch up, my touch is horrible, and everything really,” she said, “I’m kind of starting over. I haven’t played since the final so it’s been awhile.”

Her personal goals include not only beating her own goal scoring total from 2009, but also that of her Head Coach, Plasencia, who is the second leading point scorer in CRC history.

“Well obviously I’d like to beat my own goal scoring record, and definitely beat Cesar’s record,” Arellano said, “He had like 38 goals and I had 31, so hopefully I can beat him this year.”

Other returning players include the Hawks’ top goal scorer from last season, Melissa Gomez, who looks to make the switch to defense to help out that aspect of the team’s game.

The team kicks off their season at home on Aug. 30 against Butte College.

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