GIRLS SOCCER PREVIEW: Promoted to Division 1, the Lady Lancers aspire to become back-to-back Freeway League champions

Girls+soccer+defender+junior+Kayla+Pierce+gets+ready+to+knock+the+ball+into+the+netting+during+a+Nov.+15+goal+kick+drill+at+the+Sunny+Hills+field.

Audrey Seo

Girls soccer defender junior Kayla Pierce gets ready to knock the ball into the netting during a Nov. 15 goal kick drill at the Sunny Hills field.

Rachel Yun

Coaches: Jeff Gordon (head coach), Erick Hurtate (assistant coach), Sergio Miramontes (assistant coach), Jorge Montalvo (assistant coach)

Top Returning Players: Cheyenne Dohan (11), Brianna Figueroa (12), Anika Osborne (12), Dani Pineda (12), Isabella Ramirez (11), Kaylany Zavala (12)

Top Newcomers: Karen Gomez (10), Rachel Haan (10), Gwen Hennessey (9), Isabel Miramontes (10), Kayla Pierce (11), Katie Sweeney (10), Evelin Valadez (10), Vanessa Valadez (11), Celine Villasenor (10), Lauren Won (9)

Last Season: Despite a COVID-19 pandemic season in which girls soccer was played during March and April, the Lady Lancers remained undefeated in the Freeway League, taking the title with a 10-0 record. The team then made it to the CIF Division 2 quarterfinal but failed to advance, finishing with a 14-1-2 overall record.

Outlook: The Lady Lancers look to maintain their consistency, a key factor in their success when competing at a top division like Division 1 and capturing the Freeway League title once again.

“The team is willing to train hard to be ready for the challenges ahead, and I’m counting on all of them to step up,” Gordon said. “It always starts with our senior leadership and returning players.”

In the 2020-2021 season, the Freeway League was cut short because of COVID-19, and the team was only able to play 10 out of the 14 games. Despite the previous condensed season, this year’s players hope to mirror their past success.

“We all have been working hard on and off this field even with clubs together,” said Dohan, junior forward and captain of the Lady Lancers. “I want to continue being a leader where I can encourage and push my team to the best of our abilities to make sure we get the results we want.”

As 10 newcomers join the squad, Gordon said he is excited to maximize their potential this season while helping them adjust to a new atmosphere. 

“[They] are all capable of making an impact this year, and I look forward to seeing [them] making the plays that will lead us to victory and hopefully to the championships,” he said.

The Lady Lancers have been competing in different tournaments during their non-league season and won their most recent tournament, the 16th annual North Orange County Classic, as the Varsity Champion after their 2-0 win against Glen A. Wilson High School on Dec. 29. 

“Our team’s work ethic is successful because we push each other each day during practices to get better for ourselves and each other,” forward senior Brianna Figueroa said. 

Heading into Division 1, the Lady Lancers are currently focusing on staying consistent in practices and games as well as strengthening their skills individually outside of practice through clubs. 

“We look forward to the challenges of the D1 playoffs, and it means that our programs have been strong the last few years,” Gordon said. “Division 1 is an honor to be in, and we’ll push ourselves even harder.”

With a previous 5-0 victory against the Buena Park Coyotes on Jan. 6,  the team hopes to continue its win streak against Fullerton in an away game today, Jan. 18, at 3 p.m.

 The Lady Lancers’ two previous games against Troy and Sonora were postponed because of Sunny Hills players who tested positive for COVID-19. The Troy game was rescheduled to a home game on Saturday, Jan 22 at 10 a.m. but no date has been released yet for the Sonora game.

“We are excited to play our make-up games,” Gordon said. “It will be a busy schedule, but I know the girls will step up and give their best effort.”