A season ago, the Glendale Community College men’s soccer, women’s soccer and women’s volleyball teams came up short in their quest to qualify for the playoffs.
The men’s soccer squad just missed advancing to the postseason following a second-place finish in the Western State Conference South Division. It marked the second consecutive season that the Vaqueros took second in conference.
The women’s soccer team finished last in the Western State Division’s South Conference and will look to a group of local players to turn the corner.
For the women’s volleyball squad, it placed last in the Western State Conference’s East Division in 2017 and have since added some depth.
Here is a closer look at the teams.
A runner-up finish in the division left a bittersweet taste for Glendale, which finished 6-9-6, 5-2-3 in the division last season. The Vaqueros showed marked improvement, though came up short in participating in the playoffs after finishing behind Citrus.
“You still feel that sting a little bit,” Glendale coach Laura Matsumoto said. “On the other hand, it can motivate the returning players that much more and they can communicate with the freshmen players and tell them what it takes to have success during the season.
“The sophomores have been providing leadership and have been mentors to the new players. We have to play top caliber soccer and any one game [in conference] can make a difference.”
Glendale will field a squad of 20-25, including seven returners.
Those expected to bolster the lineup are sophomore centerback Jesus Rodriguez (Hoover High), sophomore midfielder/forward Keven Pinedo, sophomore midfielders Nathan Mercado and Lepkin Davis and freshman midfielder Junior Hernandez.
Glendale began its season Tuesday with a nonconference match against visiting Fullerton. The Vaqueros will kick off conference at home versus Antelope Valley on Oct. 9.
The Vaqueros spent the offseason working on stamina by taking part in strength and conditioning exercises. It came with a purpose.
“We’ve had some injuries the last couple of season and we need to find a way to stay healthy,” Glendale coach Jorge Mena said. “We want to have the players pace themselves in practices so they are ready to go in the games.
“The goal is to be efficient and understand what it’s like to play at the college level.”
Glendale went 2-13-1, 0-7-1 last season. The Vaqueros will have about 20 players in 2018, including six returners
Its a cast of several freshmen that’s left Mena excited entering the new campaign.
The Vaqueros brought in midfielder/defender Haley Tsarosski (Crescenta Valley), forwards Serena Bedikian (Crescenta Valley) and Emily Sawitskas (Hoover) and midfielder Asrianna Sarukhanyan.
Glendale will kick off its season Friday with a nonconference home match versus Compton. It will start conference Oct. 9 at L.A. Pierce.
Coach Yvette Ybarra remains positive entering the season after Glendale finished 3-20, 0-8 in 2017.
The Vaqueros figure to field a roster of 12 players in their quest to move up in conference. Ybarra has built a core that will look to help the program gain traction.
“I think we’re looking OK right now,” Ybarra said. “We have a lot of new players and they’ve been eager to learn and every practice gets better.
“We have some good talent and we’ll see what happens.”
Glendale will be led by sophomore middle blocker Jennifer Frasco (Hoover), sophomore setter Caleigh Panzarini, freshman setter Kaitlin Ronduen and freshmen outside hitter Nicole Oberhammer. Panzarini and Frasco received all-conference recognition last season. Panzarini finished with 386 assists and 128 digs and Frasco contributed 80 kills.