The season was a bumpy ride for the Lady Vaqueros soccer team. They experienced a season of heartbreaking losses, jubilant moments but most importantly, a strong bond with one another.
“We are so close to the point, that now, that the season has ended, we miss each other so much,” said forward Tatiana Aguirre. “It feels like we haven’t seen each other for weeks, as to when we were together during the season, we would see each other every single day.”
Nothing can explain how this team felt during this long and tiring season. The Vaqueros encountered obstacles on the field, and then figured out ways to overcome them.
In the five games between Oct. 9 and Oct. 23, the Vaqueros compiled a 0-3-2 record, including close losses to the powerhouse teams of Citrus and Bakersfield College.
Aguirre commented, “The after-effect was a huge downfall to our team and our morale dropped for a bit.”
Those five games were crucial for the Vaqueros because the playoffs were just a few more games away, and that slip cost them dearly.
Inconsistence gave the Vaqueros lots of problems all season long. Whenever the team would take one step forward, they would then take two steps back. Scoring was the biggest area of inconsistence and five games losing by one goal says it all.
“We knew that we were capable of doing much more,” said Aguirre. “We had a team meeting, discussed the problem and fixed it for the upcoming games.” This meeting proved to be what the Vaqueros needed to get back on track and start winning again.
In the following five games of the season, the Vaqueros turned it around and went 3-0-2, including a tie against the second-best team in the state, Pierce College.
The team missed the playoffs but finished off the year at an above .500 record. However, some didn’t think the 9-6-7 record was enough.
“Overall I think we could have done better,” said Aguirre. “We had a great squad and we could have won a lot more games.”
This season the Vaqueros had some disappointing moments as well as some bright ones. Their best game played this season came at home against L.A. Valley College in which the Vaqueros came out on top, 4-0 on Oct. 9. The combination of timely passing and a shutdown defense basically secured a win for them against Valley.
All season long, head coach Jorge Mena hollered at his players from the sideline to play more physically and praised them when they did something productive. His leadership skills helped encourage these ladies to have the confidence both on and off the field.
“I’m very proud of this squad and you can’t ask for any more,” said Mena. “This team is about sticking together and playing hard.”
The Vaqueros finished 5th in the Western State Conference, Southern Division, two games behind Santa Monica and Citrus College. They finished off the year, short of a playoff berth, but their postseason absence does not tell the entire story. Just ask head coach Mena about this season and he’s proud to tell you, these girls are far from a disappointment.