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With All-American forward, Warrior women looking to capture conference

With All-American forward, Warrior women looking to capture conference

The Cal State Stanislaus women’s soccer team is looking for a conference tournament title this season.


POSTED August 16, 2011 9:45 p.m.

The loss still haunts the Cal State Stanislaus women’s soccer team. On Nov. 5, 2010, the Warriors suffered their greatest, most heartbreaking blow of the season via a 2-1 defeat in double-overtime against Cal State L.A. in the California Collegiate Athletic Association’s postseason tournament. It also happened in front of nearly 700 fans at Warrior Stadium, the place they call home.

“I still think about it,” defender Vanessa Cervantes said. “I still have that moment in my head.”

To make matters worse, the Stanislaus goalkeeper, Millie Brown, reactivated a knee injury — putting her soccer career in limbo.

In other words, it was an unimaginable way to end the season.

At the same time, something was gained from that loss, especially now that the Warriors are entering a new year.

“I think it just makes us want it even more,” midfielder Alisa Barlow said.

And the Warriors aren’t enforcing a positive spin to cover up their true feelings, either. For one thing, Brown is back after a successful offseason of physical therapy, returning for another season and negating some of the coaching staff’s thoughts of calling it a career for the talented goalkeeper.

The Warriors, who finished 12-6-1 overall and 10-5-1 in the conference for their ninth winning season in 10 years, also welcome back forward Karenee Demery, who earned second-team All-American status after leading the CCAA with 18 goals, including nine game-winners. Along with the dangerous scorer comes a large group of freshmen — 19 are listed on the team roster — with some of the newcomers, coach Gabriel Bolton said, expected to make an impact this season.

“There’s a lot of talent,” Bolton said. “They already seem to have good chemistry. Now, it’s about fine-tuning a few things, like getting a little better with our organization, defensively and offensively.”

After last season, the Warriors lost six seniors because of graduation. But only two remained starters throughout the season — Bree McClain and Kim DiNardo — after three of the other four tore their ACLs. That granted some of the underclassmen some playing time.

This year’s squad is thinking big. The Warriors want to win the conference since they came close last season after suffering that 2-1 double overtime loss to Cal State L.A. in the conference tournament opener. And it also doesn’t hurt thinking that way with Demery, alumni of tiny Harvest Christian High in Merced, coming back for her sophomore season.

Like much of last season, Demery will have an invisible target on her back.

“The good news for her is that there’s a lot of talented players around,” Bolton said. “You want to take two or three players to deal with her? No problem. We can score in other ways.”

To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail csun@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.

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