Soccer Team Faces a Challenging Season

Brandon Hensley

Glendale’s loss to San Bernardino Valley last Friday was only the third preseason game for the team, compared to the Lady Wolverines’ sixth game, so it didn’t come as a surprise that the Lady Vaqs showed some rust. It also didn’t help that San Bernardino is a team fresh off a banner year, winning the 2008 Foothill Conference championship.

“They’re a great team this year,” said Coach Jorge Mena. But Glendale plays in the Western State Conference, so Mena’s team won’t have to worry about San Bernardino once conference play begins.

To help matters, making the playoffs won’t be all about wins and losses. Simply scheduling tougher opponents gives teams a boost in their power ratings, which contribute to their place in the standings (think RPI in college basketball). Glendale will get a point for playing San Bernardino, and would have received more if they had tied or won the game.

“You can go to the playoffs with 10 wins, and someone else [could not go] with 14 wins,” said Mena.

To win in the conference, the Lady Vaqs will have to beat out the usual suspects in Santa Monica, Pierce, and Bakersfield. Mena said teams like Pierce are always near the top because schools like Cal State Northridge become “overloaded” with talent and send those players to valley schools for a year, while teams like Glendale, Pasadena and College of the Canyons all try to recruit talent in the same area.

Mena though, is optimistic about the season. “I think this is probably one of the [best] all around teams I’ve had,” he said. Glendale returns strong midfielders Jazmine Aguirre and Natalie Diaz. Sophomore Elena Torres is listed as a defender, but Mena said she is so versatile, she can play position.

The Lady Vaqs will carry around 18 players, and compared to San Bernardino, which carries 25, they will have to make the most of what they have. Mena said they will rely on their skills, and try to dominate time of possession. He said they must get better on their free kicks and corner kicks.

Glendale missed the playoffs last season, but despite their lack of numbers, Mena was quick to say, “We’re stronger than last year.”

Their conference schedule begins at Bakersfield Sept 29.