LMC women’s soccer goes undefeated

The team wins the Bay Valley Conference.

Ariana Chavez, a mid-fielder, knocks the ball out of the competition’s possession.

Joseph Giddings, Staff Writer

Coming off of their two-year absence from competition, Los Medanos College’s 2021 Women’s Soccer team took the Bay Valley Conference by storm with their undefeated season and their record of 16 straight wins. 

The team’s potential would become clear early on within the season among its players as well as the team’s head coach Zach Sullivan.

Serving the team for over five years, Sullivan expressed his high expectations from the start of the season.

“We had a pretty good group in the summer, so we kinda knew it was going to be a good season,” said Sullivan. “We won the league the last three years, so I think this was our most talented team. So, the conference, we kinda expected to win.”

With a roster of 23, the talent on the team was unlimited this season, with the addition of 15 incoming freshmen, including the team’s starting forward Kimberly Garcia and goalkeeper Sam Nash. Their performances would make a significant impact upon the team’s achievements this season.

The team had a total of 109 goals, putting them in first place in California this season for goals scored. Garcia would score a total of 33 goals throughout the season, earning her the title of league Most Valuable Player as well as first team-all-league. Along with the team’s streak of 14 consecutive shutout games this season, Nash would make a total of 87 saves for her team, adding up to a save percentage of 83%.

Sullivan also attributes the team’s success to the strength of its student leadership demonstrated by the team’s returning players from the 2019 season as well as members of the team that were unable to play when arriving at LMC due to the pandemic in 2020. Players on the team, like Sarah Figueroa and Ariana Chavez, had been preparing for the 2021 season throughout the entirety of the pandemic, gaining both skill and experience during their absence from competitive play. They would later use that to lead the incoming team of freshmen, contributing to the team’s overall victory within the conference.

Despite the expertise displayed in both practice and competition, the connections and relationships between the players would play a vital role throughout the season. The players describe the team’s atmosphere and dynamic as close and inviting, often spending time together beyond their hours at practice and in-game.

I think that because now we know what we have talent-wise, I think we will definitely challenge ourselves a lot more and see how far we can go.”

— Ariana Chavez

Figueroa, a returning player from the 2019 season, describes the team’s chemistry as its biggest strength, built through the two years of practicing together during the pandemic. This chemistry would make the team better prepared going into the season, strengthening their performance and enjoyment for the game.

The expectations, hopes and stakes for the upcoming season are higher than ever due to the conclusion of the undefeated 2021 season. Despite this, Chavez sees the future of the team as being stronger than before.

“I think that because now we know what we have talent-wise, I think we will definitely challenge ourselves a lot more and see how far we can go,” she said.

Players like Garcia and Nash have personal goals to improve upon their own performance from the previous season with more goals, more saves and more wins for the team, hoping to reclaim their place once again as conference champions.

Sullivan hopes to increase the skill of the overall team in addition to seeing an increase in leadership demonstrated in the upcoming season by the team’s expected 15 returning players, leading to the ultimate goal of winning the state championship.