By Ray Hamill — Both College of the Redwoods soccer teams will be on the road this weekend, as each looks to establish some momentum early in the campaign under new coaches.
Former assistants Julio Ayala and Kyle Van Dyke have each moved up the ranks this season to take over the women’s and men’s teams, respectively, from the departed Pedro Cortes-Garcia.
And each is excited about the opportunity and the prospects out on the field of play.
“We look good. We’ve got a lot of talent,” Van Dyke said of the men’s team, which is 0-1–1 in the early going. “It’s just a matter of getting us all on the same page. But they look good.”
A well-taken Jasa Sisemore goal midway through the first half proved to be the difference in a close-fought girls soccer matchup on Wednesday, as St. Bernard’s defeated McKinleyville 1-0.
The Corsairs, who feature a roster of 21, opened the season last week with a 2-2 tie at Mendocino and a 4-1 loss to Yuba.
Van Dyke will look to a trio of new Fortuna players to keep the Huskies’ recent successful tradition alive for the program, with midfielders Alexis Olea and Carlos Matinez-Bernal and forward Eric Olea all joining the squad.
“They’ve all shown a lot so far, and they’re getting a lot of minutes,” Van Dyke said.
Returning from last season, center midfielder Naive Arana from Ridgecrest is expected to lead the way, as well as sophomore Lucas Terpreau, a forward from Australia.
Anchoring the back line, dual athlete Roberto Ortiz is also expected to be a big contributor in 2018.
Ortiz, who is also the kicker for the football team, is a sophomore from Dixon.
“I think what I like about them is we’ve bonded together so well,” the coach said of his players. “It’s still early, but I feel we’ve already got a good connection and that’s going to help us down the line.
“It’s a fun group. They come together every day looking to learn.”
The Corsairs play at Contra Costa on Friday and at Merritt on Saturday.
And the new coach will be looking for the early games to continue to build.
“We’re working on defensive organization and attack, and getting them to communicate,” Van Dyke said. “We’re really trying to get them to talk, to communicate with each other out on the field.”
A lot of competition for CR women
There’s a lot of competition for places on the CR women’s roster this season, with many starting spots still up for grabs heading into the season opener.
The Corsairs were 1-1 in a pair of preseason scrimmages, losing to Humboldt State and defeating Corban.
On Saturday, they kick off the season for real with a trip to Merritt.
And the head coach is looking for some of his players — six of whom are back from last year — to step up into more of a leadership role.
“The biggest thing is I want everyone to show more leadership in their own way,” Ayala said. “I believe all of them have what it takes to be leaders, and I’m looking for everyone to show me a little bit of what they have.”
The 14-player roster features several newcomers, including Fortuna’s Juliana Ortega-Miranda, who will play in goal.
Plenty of positives for Redwoods football after season opener against Monterey Peninsula College on Saturday, most notably the play of quarterback Brody Lucero …
Up front, good things are expected out of another former Husky, Tia Graham, while South Fork’s Noelia Allatorre brings some experience to the team in her second year, along with Parker Olsen from Shingle Springs and Corcoran’s Ivon Casteneda.
“I’d say there’s plenty of competition for positions and spots,” Ayala said. “The girls compete and they push each other. It’s good to have.
“They listen and they work hard, and I appreciate that about them.”
The Corsairs play their home opener against Mendocino on Tuesday at 2 p.m.