Season Preview: Soccer aiming for the goal

Pierce soccer enters a new season where they look to keep the playoff streak alive and in the process, win their conference.

However, reaching the postseason will not be an easy task as they’ll face teams like Ventura College, Cuesta and Moorpark.

Head Coach Adolfo Perez enters his 19th season at the helm of the program. He looks forward to the new challenges ahead.

“We are in a new conference so that will be tough and also a change in administration so we have to adjust there as well,” Perez said.

The team will be without their top goal scorer Keyonna Hill, who will not be playing due to pregnancy.

Hill led the Brahmas in goals last year with 29, tying Erica Vangsness who had the record for a few seasons.

Perez said that not having Hill will be a big loss for the entire team.

“She is irreplaceable to be honest. We were  close in bringing in Karina Salgado from ElCo [El Camino Real] but she ended up transferring to a four-year at the last minute,” Perez said.

Perez said that the objective will be to play as a team and to not depend solely on one player.

Diana Millan last year led the state in assists with 28 as she broke a school record and scored five goals.

Madison Holland who was going to be the starting goalie for the Brahmas will not be returning after her torn ACL she suffered against Antelope Valley College.

Perez talked about the goalkeeper department and mentioned who his number one could potentially be for the season opener against Chaffey College.

“Last year we had four or five. We have Joana Cerda coming in from Kennedy High School and we also have Iliana [Yanez] who should be our number one, but who knows. She wasn’t our starter last year, but ended up playing most of the games,” Perez said. We had brought Holland to play, but she only did for 10 minutes.”

Perez said that he feels blessed because even though they lose players, the magic is still there for the team.

He said that also an objective for the program will be reaching the postseason.

“Before we start the season we set out goals and we have three of them. To win conference, we want to make playoffs and we want to win state. We always think big. It will be sad when eventually it will be a group, but I don’t want this group to be the first,” Perez said.

An issue for the Brahmas was the injuries. In addition to Holland being injured, other players were sidelined for a while. Perez said they will emphasize on that heading into the summer.

“We are going to start one week earlier in the third week of June and I hope our foundation is strong,” Perez said.

Gisell Cruz, who was the top goal scorer in 2017, came in second behind Hill with 21 goals and 19 assists.

Pierce will face a tough schedule to start the season. After their  opener against Chaffey, they play Irvine Valley, Cerro Coso, Antelope Valley, West LA, Harbor, Victor Valley, College of the Canyons and Clovis.

Perez said that even though they did not have a strong roster, Hill was scoring the goals. Conlon  is expected to be the main striker this year.

Perez is 14 wins away from reaching 300. He has the soccer balls from his first 200 in his office. He said that it will be phenomenal if he reaches it.

“It is not something I’m obsessed with, but if we can get there it will be awesome,” Perez said.

Forward Jordyn Conlon said they have a solid team coming back and is looking forward to the new competition.

“Even though we lost a great amount of players, we have new faces coming in so that will help us tremendously and will make us more compact as a squad,” Conlon said.

She said she looks forward to being the striker this season and hopes to step up for her teammates.

“I really hope I can lead my team this year. Be the best teammate and friend and I have faith that we will put up the same numbers as last season,” Conlon said.

She said that the team has potential to not only reaching the playoffs, but to reach 300 wins.

Skylar Myers, defender, said the new faces on the team will adapt well to the program.

“We have really good coaches and we have built a pretty good environment. I think it is a big step for anyone that starts as a juco player,” Myers said. “This is a really important year for us.”