Preventing goals wasn’t a problem for the SBCC women’s soccer team last year. Scoring was another matter.
The Vaqueros featured the No. 2 defense in the state, allowing just nine goals. They lost only three games in a 13-3-5 campaign but all three were 1-0 setbacks.
“We’ve got a high standard in the women’s program,” said coach John Sisterson, who’s entering his fifth season. “We only lost two games (in the regular season) and both were 1-0 to Ventura. And then the playoff game, we lost 1-0 in extra time to a San Diego Mesa team that went to the State Final Four.”
SBCC opens the 2009 campaign on Friday at Sequoias in Visalia. They’ll play their next three at home against L.A. Mission (Sept. 1), L.A. Pierce (Sept. 8) and Santa Monica (Sept. 15) with all games starting at 7 p.m. in La Playa Stadium.
Santa Barbara returns seven starters from a squad that went unbeaten in its first 13 games (9-0-4) and finished second to Ventura in the WSC North. The Vaqueros have been especially tough at home with a 15-1-5 record over the last two seasons.
Meghan Maiwald was a first-team All-WSC performer in goal in 2008 with 13 shutouts and a miniscule 0.42 goals-against average. She probably would have started in goal on the USA team at the Deaf Olympics which are about to start in China but chose not to compete, so she return for her sophomore year at SBCC.
Maiwald will miss the first month due to shin splints and she’ll be replaced between the pipes by the appropriately named Renee Block, a freshman from Cabrillo High. “I have every confidence in Renee,” said Sisterson.
Other top returners include defenders Jamie Kurcharski and Lindsey Snow, along with second team All-WSC midfielders Courtney Belsheim and Casey Rubin.
“Jamie is a rock on defense at center back and she came back really fit,” noted Sisterson. “Courtney will be wonderful and Casey is a terrier for us in midfield. She’s a small girl but she really is the motor of the team. She covers a lot of ground, she’s a navigator and a ferocious tackler.”
Midfielder Elicity Fabing tops a talented list of newcomers that also features forwards Margot Valenzuela, Kelly Deckers and Melanie Menin, the sister of former Vaquero goalie Ashley Menin. “Elicity is doing very, very well,” Sisterson said. “She’s an athlete who looks very good on the ball and is very dedicated. Melanie strikes a tremendous ball. Anytime she’s around the 25-yard area, it’s going to be in the back of the net.”
Alyson Johnson is a returner at right back and freshman Nicole Carver has played well at left back, according to Sisterson.
“They can all strike the ball,” said Sisterson. “We were creating chances last year, but we couldn’t finish at times. I don’t think this team will have that problem.”