Comets prepare ahead conference opener

Squad builds existing ‘talent’, lacks roster depth

By Robert Clinton, Staff Writer

The Contra Costa College women’s soccer team is set to embark on its 2014 season, with Bay Valley Conference play starting Sept. 26 at Folsom Lake College.

At the helm for the Comets is first year coach Amanda Beckenhauer. She replaces Nikki Ferguson who will coach the CCC men’s team this fall. Beckenhauer served as an assistant to Ferguson in 2013.

Although finishing the season with an overall record of 7-12, the Comets ended the year in fifth place in the BVC at 5-9.

A lack of scoring plagued the Comets last year as CCC finished the season being outscored by 30 goals. Around every turn, no matter what evasive action the team employed, offensive deficiency remained the primary obstacle in the team’s path to success.

Beckenhauer will be without the team’s leading scorer Laura Hurtado, who finished her sophomore season in 2013 as the BVC’s fourth best goal-scorer. Her 15 goals will be sorely missed as well as her leadership. Hurtado took pride in being, in her own words, a role model for the team.

This year’s Comet squad is split evenly with six freshman and sophomores. Although there aren’t many players returning from last year’s team, the coach is confident in the skill level of her players.

In contrast, the men’s program carries 26 players on its roster. The first year coach is more than certain that as her players work themselves into game shape the team’s shallow bench shouldn’t present much of a problem for the Comets.

“We are good enough to go out there with the players we have and compete with anyone — as long as we play up to our ability,” Beckenhauer said. “The only reason I worry about our lack of depth is the risk of injury. Other than that I can work with what we have.”

What she’s working with for the most part are players who are completely new to the program. One returning Comet, Marielena Salazar scored a goal for CCC as a freshman on the 2012 team. But that was before Beckenhauer was even assistant coach.

The meshing of new players’ styles and attitudes may take a couple of games into the preseason to really begin to take shape. Comet sophomore forward Lucia Barboza-Mariscal knows bringing a new team together can open the doors to all kinds of distractions.

“We all need to focus before coming onto the field, ignore any off-the-field issues and not allow any outside influences.”

This Comet team hopes to capitalize more on home field advantage this season. After a series of lackluster performances at home last year resulting in a disappointing 3-7 record at the Soccer Field, Beckenhauer said, “If you come out to see the team play you’ll definitely see talent on the field. You just have to come out and support them. They could use the love.”