October 11, 2005 > Ohlone Women's Soccer team in championship form
Ohlone Women's Soccer team in championship form
Head Coach Larry Heslin has high hopes for this year's Ohlone College Women's soccer team and with good reason. One of his strong players, sophomore Sarah Fernandez, an Irvington High School graduate, lends a powerful punch to the forward position, scoring 12 goals to date and, with a well-balanced team, gives the Renegades an excellent chance for a championship season. Sarah's assessment of the team rates them currently as a "7" on a scale of "10" with team strength growing with each game.
Fernandez enjoys the game since it combines the features of a competitive team sport with individual athleticism. The winning combination, according to Sarah, is "endurance, strength and skill" combined with "game intelligence" - knowing where the ball will be and how to effectively position yourself on the field. She says, "Our skills have been there from the beginning of the season; now it is simply a matter of putting it all together." Sharing the forward positions with Ana Ceja, a Kennedy High School graduate, Fernandez has confidence in Ohlone's offensive power.
Coach Heslin, in his third year as head coach of the women's soccer team and fifth year as assistant head coach of men's soccer at Ohlone, knows the playoffs are "a definite possibility" with this team. Checking the roster, he notes that about half are returning players which gives the Renegades stability and experience on the field. Although coaching soccer is essentially the same for both men and women, Heslin says the key is to make sure the players "mesh" on the field. He enjoys coaching the women's team saying they "listen well and catch on quickly."
Heslin adds that community college teams are "underutilized" by athletes and a "great tool" for sharpening skills and improving academic performance to earn a degree prior to moving on to a four-year school. One big advantage is the opportunity for aspiring players to "walk-on" for a tryout with the team. "Walk-ons are always welcome says Heslin. At community colleges, "Every year is a building year, so we are always looking for new players."
"This year we have two incredible forwards and our defense has three returning players who are very solid. A couple of players have joined the team late and a few are battling injuries, but once we they are comfortable and healthy, we really don't have a weakness." Heslin feels the midfield, all sophomores, is solid; "we can definitely count on them." Although balanced, he emphasizes that the Renegades "attack well and like to put the ball in the back of the net."
Looking over his roster, the coach comments that the players are so strong that he could substitute any of his team on the field and the "drop-off" would be minimal. "We have two, three, five girls who can put the ball in the back of the net, five capable girls in the back who are very good at defense and can keep the ball out of our net and a goalkeeper who could be one of the better ones in the league."
This year's Renegade team consists of: #2 - Amada Lopez (Goalkeeper, Forward); #3 - Sophia Ngo (Forward, Midfield); #4 Dana Ryan (Forward, Midfield); #5 - Alex Korn (Defense); #6 - Emily McKean (Midfield, Forward); #7 - Sarah Fernandez (Forward); #8 - Erin Sincerny (Midfield); #9 - Allison Hollenshead (Midfield); #10 - Ana Ceja (Midfield, Forward); #11 - Raquel Weston (Midfield); #12 - April Rodriquez (Midfield, Defense); #13 - Ambur Hollenshead (Midfield); #14 - Christina Lemos (Defense); #15 - Kristina Eng (Midfield); #16 - Rachel Estrada (Forward); #18 - Christina Buna (Defense); #19 - Natasha Fitzgerald (Forward); #21 - Tiffany Miller (Defense).