Coyotes’ women seek first GVC title
With five key returners and 17 freshmen that are pushing the sophomores, the Lake Tahoe Community College women’s soccer team is eyeing its first Golden Valley Conference title.
Returning All-GVL center back Caitlyn Bidart was the lone team captain Tuesday during a home scrimmage in South Lake Tahoe against West Valley, and is excited for the 2017 campaign.
“We have a lot of talent and athleticism. The freshmen all work hard and they wanna get places,” said Bidart, a 2016 Douglas High School graduate. “There’s lot of depth at each position which is going to make the sophomores work harder because we don’t want freshman to take our positions, but they’re pushing us.”
Bidart was named captain last year about half way through the season. She probably won’t remain the lone captain but is relishing her role.
“I’m excited to lead this group,” Bidart said. “I’m honored to be their captain. We’re probably gonna add more, and we’ve talked about it. But it’s kind of hard because there’s so many girls that have different qualities that they could bring to the table as a captain. There are a lot of good leaders out there.”
While Bidart is the backbone of the defense, Kenya Maltase generates goals for the offense.
The returning all-GVL forward, scored two first-half goals Tuesday in a 2-0 win over West Valley. (The Coyotes opened their regular season Friday night at home against Sierra College.
Rebecca Niblett, a midfielder/defender, from England, started every game for the Coyotes a year ago and this year is moving to her natural position. Defender Megan Masters and midfielder Alondra Mata round out the five key returners that Evans is hoping can carry a heavy load.
“We had about 15 girls that were supposed to return this year but were scared off by the incoming freshmen, and they should have been,” said Coyotes head coach Jeremy Evans who is in his third season leading the program. “But I still don’t know, if you had to put a gun to my head, to play a game tonight for real, I’m not sure I know who my best 11 is. And that’s fine, it’s early. It’s a good problem.”
At Tuesday’s scrimmage with dark clouds, thunder blasting through the sky with an on and off hard rain, the girls gave a strong performance.
“I’ve had two full recruiting classes and so we have the most talent we’ve had in the program, which brings higher expectations,” Evans said. “I like coaching with more expectations because there’s more pressure. I’m excited about this group and the community is excited and I think the fans that showed up here today are a reflection of that.”
The Coyotes finished second in the GVL last year with an 8-2-2 record and lost to two-time champion Lassen 1-0 both times they played. And that let a sour taste in Evan’s mouth.
“I thought it was a bad coaching job by me,” Evans said. “I thought we had the best talent in the league we just did not come together as a team. We’re gunning for that league title obviously and I think this is a team that can win the first league title in program history, but there’s a long way to go.”
Another local product on the roster is freshman Sydney Woodward, a first-team all-league player for Douglas last year.
The Coyotes play again next Sunday at Ohlone College (Fremont, Calif.) and play their next home game on Sept. 7 against defending California community college state champion Cerritos College (23-1-1 in 2016).