Girls challenged by rebuilding season

By Andrea Camarena

Last season, Cardinal girls soccer made it to the playoffs but fell in the first round at the hands of Garces on the "rainiest, wintery day of the year."

With their MVP player Christina Salas out with a knee injury, the girls struggled through the game and ended their season on Garces' home field.

This year, Freddy Martinez has lost eight starters to the 2004 graduating class. He's rebuilding his team with several young players coming up from last year's JV squad.

He has seen his girls in action after coaching several of the team members on a CYSA team over the summer.

Returning for her third year on varsity, junior Monica Montes looks like this season's defensive leader. Her versatility in the back of the field has her alternating through the three defensive slots for the Cardinals.

In the front, the Cardinals are looking to Brenda Wrangle to lead the scoring this season. The third year varsity junior made the most goals for Martinez' summer league team and will rotate between the three forward positions.

"This is a young team but we have enough to go with," said Martinez.

Senior Monica Perez will control the defense this season, manning the sweeper position.

As the team's "best all-around player," senior Edelma Jarquin will settle into the middle of the field this season. Martinez prides her on her ability to play any position on the field, including keeper.

With their 3-3-4 line-up, Martinez plans to push all of his top speed to the outside of the field.

With Coalinga and Immanuel joining the ESL this season, the Cardinals face 14 league matches and heightened competition.

Exeter once again looks to be the team's closest competitor. Last season, both Exeter games went into double overtime and ended in golden goal play.

"If we can get the girls in shape, they can run."

Having seen Woodlake over the summer, Martinez is confident that Woodlake is in shape. Meanwhile Highway 65 rival Exeter hit the field for training several weeks before the Cardinals leaving Martinez' girls playing catch up. Martinez will carry 19 girls this season and has the luxury of playing two keepers. Yvette Felix stands as the tallest Cardinal player and she's battling with Sonja Barrientos for the starting keeper spot. Felix, a senior, is joining Martinez for her first season on varsity after playing with the girls over the summer.

The Cardinals opened their non-league play on Monday and face Parlier in another non-league conference at Parlier on Thursday, Dec. 2.

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