Alli Otto says she was very disappointed when she left MacKay Stadium after the Carson Senators lost 3-2 against Galena in the Northern 4A girls soccer championship match back on Nov. 12.
First, the Senators fallen short of their quest to become champions and cap off a perfect 20-0 season. Not only that, it all happened in what Otto believed would be her final soccer game.
As it turns out, there will be more soccer games for Otto to play, along with four other local area players who signed letters of commitment with Western Nevada Community College on Thursday afternoon. Douglas High products Ali Pyne and Courtney Lenhart, Galena's Tianna Colliglee and Samantha Carter of North Valleys joined Otto in signing letters during a brief ceremony at WNCC's Joe Dini Center.
"I'm really excited to have them," coach Hillary Arthur said afterward. "They're a great representation of the talent and skill here in Northern Nevada."
Pyne and Lenhart both had distinguished careers for a Douglas program that has been to the playoffs 12 consecutive years. Lenhart, a senior forward/midfielder, led the Tigers in scoring this past season with 17 goals to go with three assists and received second-team all-league recognition this past season. Pyne, a 2005 Douglas graduate who is now taking classes at the University of Nevada, earned first-team all-Sierra League honors as a senior defender last year (the team logged 12 shutouts).
Pyne will now have an opportunity to play alongside former teammate Jessica Maule, who played for WNCC's inaugural team this past fall.
"I want to play soccer again, that's why I'm coming here," said Pyne, who made the fall dean's list at the University of Nevada. "Jessica played here and from hearing about her experiences, it sounded like this would be fun."
Otto played four varsity seasons as a goalkeeper for Carson, highlighted by a senior season in which the Senators won 19 games in a row before losing to Galena in the Northern 4A finals. Otto was an honorable mention all-league selection.
The goalkeeper, who will compete for playing time with WNCC incumbent Rachelle Goulet, is simply happy to have an opportunity to play again.
"I wasn't planning on playing soccer anymore. I was going to go up to UNR and concentrate on my studies, but after talking to coach, I came up here to tour the campus," Otto said. "I'm really excited. The school works out for me because I want to be a juvenile probation officer, and I'm really excited to play again. A few of us have played together before - Courtney and I were on the same Nevada Wonders team together - so I'm excited about that part, too."
Otto admits she wasn't so excited after the loss against Galena in the Northern 4A finals at MacKay Stadium.
"It was disappointing to lose, we had such an excellent season," she said. "I was wishing it wouldn't have ended."
It was quite an improvement from what she describes as a less than successful junior season at Carson.
"My junior year was horrible. I was determined not to let that happen again, so I worked hard (during the offseason)," Otto said. "I was pumped for this season and I can't even describe how good it felt. It was just awesome."
The WNCC Wildcats experienced some success with a 6-6-3 record this season. Three of those losses came against Scenic West Athletic Conference champion Dixie State College (St. George, Utah) - a program that will move up to compete at the NCAA Division II level in 2006.
"It was a great first year, it's something we can build on," said Arthur, who only signed her first recruiting class for the inaugural season in April. "I thought we were successful as far as reaching our goals; we could have had two or three more wins. All three of those ties should have been wins."
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