Women’s soccer: South Coast Conference champs look to repeat

Written by Ignacio Cervantes, Sports Editor

Today, Aug. 30 the Rio Hondo women’s soccer team kick-off its 2018 season in search of back-to-back South Coast Conference-North titles.

At Ventura College, the Lady Roadrunners will begin their pre-conference schedule with a mini-tournament – the Ventura Showcase.

Today Rio faces the Santa Barbara Vaqueros before suiting up again Friday to meet the Canada Colts.

Last season, the women’s soccer team played 23 games and went 15-4-2. Maintaining the record this year will be a tough task.  Head coach, Jennifer Tanaka mentions the team’s schedule this year is one of the toughest in the nation. Coming up against last year’s State runners-up, the Vaqueros will make it difficult from the start.

A 1-0 loss to the Santiago Canyon Hawks in the second round of the SoCal Regional Playoffs in late November. It ended with hope for the Lady Roadrunners last season. Led by two-time SCC North Offensive Player of the Year Madison Mader the past two seasons, coach Tanaka is not worried about filling the role the now California State, Los Angeles midfielder left behind.

“Madison had two great years here,” coach Tanaka said, “But at this level you don’t know who will step up until you see it happen on the field. The coaching staff isn’t worried, but we are excited to see which player will take the role.”

Tanaka says the goal of the squad this season is to get better every day in order to compete at their best on a daily basis. Her No. 1 aim of every year, is to make sure 100 percent of her players want to continue their education. To transfer to a 4-year school or professional program.

“We have lost some great players but have also gained new recruits, some of whom may immediately make an impact.” Tanaka said, “The biggest thing we will look for is leadership on and off the field.  It’s always interesting to see that develop in the first weeks of the season.”