Wildcats begin season with mix of veterans and new players

Ariel Hernandez

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Shelby Keck  Wildcats train hard for their upcoming season. Cassi Scoggins [CENTER] dribbles past Scotie Walker [LEFT] Wednesday.

Shelby Keck
Wildcats train hard for their upcoming season. Cassi Scoggins [CENTER] dribbles past Scotie Walker [LEFT] Wednesday.

After finishing the 2012 season 7-11 and placing fourth in the north division of the California Collegiate Athletic Association, the women’s soccer team is ready to try again.

Last year’s team was dedicated, but the season was frustrating, said senior forward Scotie Walker.

“This is our rebuilding year,” she said. “This year we have a good core group of girls coming back and the freshmen coming in will help a lot.”

Walker was one of the standouts of last year’s season with seven goals and three assists. She was named to the Third All-West Region Team by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America. She also finished fifth in the conference in scoring and gained the honor of Second Team All-CCAA. With a career total of nine goals and eight assists, she will be a key component in this year’s rebuild.

With 14 incoming freshmen, the team has been able to add new strengths that will help the Wildcats achieve a successful season.

“Something was always missing last year,” said junior midfielder Megan Tabler. “Sometimes it was hanging onto our lead or simply putting the ball in the net.”

The team is stronger technically than it was last year, Tabler said.

“We have added great depth to every position. We also added height and size to our roster.”

Junior midfielder Halima Abdelshife said the team has become much more versatile.

“Our strength is in our midfielders,” Abdelshife said. “They can play all over the place.”

The team has been practicing twice a day to prepare for the upcoming season, Tabler said.

“Double days are the worst, but after two years of it, it somehow gets easier,” she said. “But we don’t do them all season, thank goodness.”

Even though the team has been practicing for an average of four hours a day, they head to Mt. Lassen to spend the weekend before the start of the semester to bond as a team. The squad will hike, swim and read letters written by alumni and seniors, which help inspire the new and seasoned players.

Tabler said the experience is really special.

“It gets the season off to a positive start,” she said. “It really brings the team together before the season. We do a lot of bonding.”

There is no doubt that the team will be ready come game day Thursday, Sept. 5 against California Baptist University.

“I think this is going to be our year,” Walker said.


Ariel Hernandez can be reached at [email protected] or @ariel7hernandez on Twitter.

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