Glendale Community College Men's Soccer Preview: WSC splits, Vaqueros heading south

With the temperature soaring in the late morning, the members of the Glendale Community College men's soccer team took part in an intrasquad scrimmage at Sartoris Field.

About halfway through the scrimmage, the players gathered near midfield for a water break and listened to some observations from coach Laura Matsumoto.

"I just look for different things in the scrimmages, because we are getting closer to the start of the season and we want them to be in game shape," said Matsumoto, whose team will begin its season at 3 p.m. Friday with a nonconference road match against Fullerton. "It's got a lot to do with seeing how they can perform and keeping up the pace in terms of capitalizing on their strengths and protecting their weaknesses."

The Vaqueros will carry around 25 players this season and look for improvement after going 5-11-5, 4-8-4 for sixth place in the Western State Conference last season.

There will be one major change for Glendale, as the conference underwent realignment following last season. The conference will have a North and South division.

Glendale will be in the South Division with Antelope Valley, Bakersfield, College of the Canyons, Citrus and Victor Valley. The North Division will consist of Allan Hancock, L.A. Mission, Moorpark, Oxnard, Santa Monica and Santa Barbara.

Matsumoto, who took over the program from Joe Agoston in 2014, said she's eager to see how the Vaqueros fare in the division.

"It's time to change things up," said Matsumoto, who previously served as an assistant for seven seasons under Agoston. "We're familiar with a lot of the teams and some of the schools will have brand new teams, so we know we can't take anything for granted.

"We will have to stay disciplined to be in position to win. We'll still see teams such as Santa Monica and Santa Barbara before the start of conference."

The Vaqueros should have plenty of depth at midfield to provide balance with the transition game.

"I have no complaints in that element," Matsumoto said. "You need to have a lot of depth, especially in that position. We have a lot of players vying for playing time at midfield.

"Our defense should be improved and we'll try to have plenty of balance at both ends of the field. We've been building for the last few years and we have a good core of returners and we'll look for them to help keep us in the running."

The projected starters on defense are sophomores David Banuelos, Jorge Monterrosa and Ramiro Ramirez. The goalkeepers will be sophomores Armando Aragonez and Andrew Zaimes.

Sophomore Wilkins Salas and freshman Lepkin Davis are in the mix to play forward and/or midfielder. Elsewhere in the midfield, freshmen Fabricio Bonilla, Kevin Lopez, Nathan Mercado and Kento Makajima should see playing time while sophomore Jesus Rosas is slotted at forward.

Glendale will play its first three matches on the road before a home contest at 7 p.m. Sept. 6 against L.A. Harbor. The Vaqueros will participate in 11 nonconference matches.

Glendale will begin division play at 7 p.m. Oct. 11 at home against Canyons and will wrap up the regular season at 3 p.m. Nov. 11 at Victor Valley.

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Charles Rich, charles.rich@latimes.com

Twitter: @TCNCharlesRich

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