Soccer Brings a New Look into 2016 Campaign

 

SAN LUIS OBISPO (August 31, 2016)— The Cuesta College Women’s Soccer team is looking to open up the season with only five returners, however they also boast a fresh look with sixteen freshmen. The Cougars look strong on the backline with two experienced returning center backs and have depth and talent at every position. Cuesta appears to be ready to, once again, make some noise in the, always tough, Western State Conference. The success of the 2016 team will depend on how quickly the squad can gel into a unit. Coach Bob Wilson (206-185-62, 22nd year) says” The Cougars’ success will rely on becoming a team and improving the quickness and accuracy of their passes. Keeping our defensive shape and growing as a unit should provide (us with) a competitive team for the Western State Conference this season.”

 

DEFENSE

The Cougars’ defense in front of the goal should return as the team’s strongest unit and 2015 All Western State Conference First Teamer and Team MVP Christen Engel (Forest Hill) shall once again anchor the defense. Engel is a superior athlete and known for strong tackles and her ability to read the game well. Engel scored her first goal of her career in the 2016 opener, after recording only one assist as a freshman. She spent her off-season as a member of Cuesta Track & Field team and showed off her athleticism by winning a conference title in the Heptathlon. 2015 All-WSC Second Team choice Brooke Canepa’s (Sonora HS) is back next to Engel and was voted the 2015 team’s “Most Outstanding Player”. Canepa’s tenacity and relentless work ethic will provide the opponents a big challenge in the middle of the defensive line. Canepa is also one on only three Cuesta returners to tally a goal in 2015. All-League freshman Maranda Amaral (San Jose) will add to the backline and be looked to for runs up the side from her outside back position. Coach Wilson says, “She has shown a strong understanding of the game.” On the opposite side, all the way from Maui, Summer Lopez (Lahaina, HI) has shown relentless energy and a good first touch on the ball. Freshmen Claudia Black (Loomis) and Chloe Holstine (Paso Robles HS) will add more depth and talent on the defensive half of the pitch. Black should provide the Cougars with a strong ball out of the back and adds a strong left foot, while Holstine’s strong tackles adds physical play for the Cougars. Freshman Courtney Long’s (Mariposa HS) team effort will round out the depth for the Cougars.

 

MIDFIELD

Sophomore Victoria Gracie (Tracy HS) is the Cougars’ veteran presence in midfield and is surrounded by a talented group of newcomers. The Cougars will look to Gracie to spread the defense with her excellent runs up the field. All-County selection Britney Borello’s (Golden Valley) excellent one touch play will increase the speed of play for Cuesta and help get the ball up to the forwards, while all-League choice Shyanne Douglas’s (Arroyo Grande HS) strong shot will be valuable from the outside back or holding back position. Freshman Logan Laugero’s (Oakdale HS) versatility will help Cuesta on various parts of the field, however Coach Wilson thinks holding midfield looks to be the place to take advantage of her outside striking ability. Latecomer Megan Gonsalves’s (Manteca) speed from the backline will also help Cuesta’s attack and Freshman Diana Cisneros (Cambria: Coast Union) has shown a quality outside shot and the ability to flight quality balls out of the back.

 

FOWARDS

The Cougars only returned three of their 19 goals from last year, but have enough talent up top to double last year’s team total. Sophomore Chloe Lindsey (Los Osos: Morro Bay HS) led the Cougars to their first victory of 2015 with the lone goal in their game against Ohlone, but her bright season was curtailed by an ankle injury. A healthy Lindsey brings needed speed to the Cougars attack.   On the frontline, Coach Wilson thinks SLO High product Chenin Dotson (SLO HS) does a nice job opening up to the ball and will be a quality finisher, while Paso Robles product Alyssa Harris (Paso Robles HS) could be the striker to pressure aggressively for the ball and win many 50/50 balls. In addition, sophomore Madison Ramsey’s (San Ardo: Templeton HS) speed and flank attacks should spread the opponent’s defense, while University of Nevada transfer Nichole Graham’s (Truckee) subtle touch and smart shot selection will give calmness on the ball in the upper third. Freshman Rachel McCoy’s (Roseville) speed and tenacity will also help the Cougars get behind the defensive line.

 

GOALKEEPERS

Arroyo Grande High product Kendall Bowers (Arroyo Grande HS) will give some height and experience between the sticks for the Cougars. She transferred back from San Diego State and sat out last year, but should bounce back to give the Cougars a lift in the goal. The final returner on the team is Sarah Siems (Yucaipa HS). Siems is the Cougars’ top returning offensive threat with a goal and a pair of assists to her credit in 2015, yet she will begin the season in the goal. Coach Wilson says, “Sarah has graciously offered to work in the goal and has shown very good hands and quickness in the goal. She will also be looked to provide some coverage in the midfield or even as a striker with her quality finishing ability.”

 

COACHES

Coach Bob Wilson (206-185-62), in his 22nd year, will be joined on the sidelines by two assistant coaches. Longtime local coach Marcus Des Plantes and John Clarke, who has been with the program through a dozen campaigns.

 

 

 

Cuesta College Athletic Programs are funded through a combined effort of the College District associated Students of Cuesta     College, The Athletic Booster Club, Cellular One of San Luis Obispo, and individual fundraising projects.