NORTHEAST GLENDALE — Having watched the practices unfold at Sartoris Field since the beginning of July, Glendale Community College women's soccer Coach Jorge Mena learned something.
"It's a good group and they are organized," Mena said. "They've been listening, going through the drills properly and they are understanding how they can get better."
Mena will look to see how that will apply to match situations, when the Vaqueros begin their season at 5 p.m. Friday with a nonconference home contest against Compton College.
Glendale college will field 19 players, including four sophomores. With mostly a new-look team, Mena said being organized is a sign the Vaqueros have their sights set on moving up in the Western State Conference's South Division.
"They understand the game better at the next level," said Mena, whose team finished 4-15-1, 3-10-1 in the division for fifth place and didn't qualify for the Southern California Regionals for the seventh season in a row. "We will be able to spread the ball around and you just look for everything to fall into place.
"It's hard to tell if we are going to score a lot of goals, but we have some depth and versatility in that we have people who can play two different positions."
The goaltenders will be sophomore Emily Hovendick and freshman Samantha Galvan, a Hoover graduate.
The defenders will consist of sophomores Teresina Cuccinello, a Hoover graduate, and Maria Cabrera-Carreto. They will be joined by freshmen Cindy Cortez, Andrea Ramirez-Escobar, Priscilla Miranda and Erin Ingram.
The midfield will feature sophomore Samantha Aguirre and freshmen Michelle Anaker, Kelsee Beck, Crescenta Valley graduates Emily Bustos and Mayte Martinez, Cecilia Martinez, Ayana Miyazaki, Madai Rosas and Leila Valle.
Aguirre, a Hoover graduate, said the Vaqueros' main strength will be at midfield.
"We will be good there and that can help us with our offense," said Aguirre, a former All-Pacific League pick. "I think it will lead to us to being able to take more shots and get good scoring chances."
Glendale's forwards will consist of freshmen Geyli Aguilar and Gladys Avila.
Choosing a starting lineup will be done shortly by Mena, the conference's Southern Division Coach of the Year in 2002. He isn't concerned about most of his group having never played a collegiate match.
"When you have a lot of freshmen, they know they have to earn the playing time and then keep it," Mena said. "They'll work even harder.
"Our conference is probably the strongest in the state. You want to play good teams so you can develop. It's about how you apply yourself to certain situations. When you do that, that makes you stronger."
The Vaqueros will play six of their first eight matches on the road. They will begin division play at 4 p.m. Sept. 27 against Citrus and will close out the regular season at 7 p.m. Nov. 11 against visiting L.A. Valley College.