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With a number of returners, Turlock soccer gears up for another deep run
Turlock High’s Sara Latham gets past a Golden Valley defender and prepares to shoot in a 2009 Central California Conference game. Latham is expected to be one of the leaders of this season’s Bulldog soccer team. - photo by Journal file photo
The girls soccer season didn’t necessary begin for Turlock High on Feb. 27, when the Bulldogs faced Central Valley High in a nonconference game. No, it started months before that -- going all the way back to fall of last year.
It’s serious business for this group, one that suffered an unforgettably close loss to Enochs High in the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs last season. That heartbreak ended a rather dominant run for the Bulldogs, who hoped for their second consecutive appearance in the Section title game.
Does this year’s team have what it takes for another deep postseason run?
The answer: yes.
It doesn’t matter that the Bulldogs lost some key players to graduation. They still have a good chunk of last season’s main contributors back, in such returners as senior defenders Cassidy Costa and Kaitlyn Ireland, senior forwards Sara Latham and Kayla Avila and midfielder Amanda Cervantes. Along with a couple of newcomers expected to make an impact in freshmen Shelby McLain (midfielder) and Nicole Larson (defender), Turlock is gearing up for an outstanding finish.
“We start our year in the fall by weight training and conditioning,” coach Dennis Bishop said. “We get as many athletes as we can involved to get them physically ready and hopefully make them strong to stay injury-free.”
Just two years ago, the Bulldogs reached the Section final against St. Francis High only to lose 1-0 in an intense contest. So a lot was expected from the Bulldogs in 2009 and throughout the season, they proved they were strong and tough with an effective midfield scheme that opened up opportunities for top scorer Latham.
But the season ended in a nightmare, as the Bulldogs were bounced out of the playoffs by Enochs of Modesto in a 2-1 losing affair.
And now, Turlock is looking to make a statement. The Bulldogs, however, know they have a lot to prove before the postseason begins.
“Different personalities, but overall very similar,” Bishop said in comparing this year’s squad to the one in 2009. “They are confident and sure of their teammates. They are a cohesive bunch and they enjoy being a family rather than a team. When they take the field, they have confidence in each other and there isn’t a single player more important than another.”
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.