By ALAN HOSKINS
KANSAS CITY, KAN. ----- Kansas City Kansas Community College will begin its third season of women’s soccer with its highest hopes yet.
“I’m excited. I’m really looking forward to this year,” said Alex Mendez, who is in his first year as assistant coach under third year head mentor Ruben Rodriguez. “I know this is going to be a better team than last year.”
The Lady Blue Devils host Coffeyville in their home opener Thursday, Sept. 4, at 5 p.m. Coffeyville and the KCKCC men will follow at 7 p.m.
With six returning sophomores, the Lady Blue Devils will have more experience than the first two seasons. Four of the returnees are defenders, Zayra Gonzalez of Lincoln Prep, Torrie Wright of Killeen, Tex., Sonia Reyes of J.C. Harmon and Dania Gomez of Wyandotte. They’ll be joined by promising freshmen Chase Holle of Topeka West and Wendy Galvan of F.L. Schlagle.
Shayna Thomas of SM North and Krystal Uribe of Wyandotte return as defensive midfielders where they’ll be joined by freshman Emily Soetaert of Tonganoxie.
Another Tonganoxie freshman, Madison Simmons, will occupy the attacking midfield position while the right and left midfield spots will be contested by three Kansas City, Mo., frosh, Karla Montes of Alta Vista, Cynthia Conchas of Lincoln Prep and Marissa Alaniz of Cristo Rey.
Friday Landford of J.C. Harmon has won the starting forward position while Kennedy Bizzell of Bonner Springs will be in goal, a position Blue Devil coaches believe will be much improved in 2014.
Mendez has been most pleased by the progress of his squad thus far.
“We’re really bonding together and playing as a team. Everyone gets along with each other and that’s important. The things we need to improve on are moving the ball better and playing quicker.”
The Lady Blue Devils have five home contests, all against Jayhawk Conference foes. Following Coffeyville Sept. 4, KCKCC will host Neosho County Sept. 23, Cowley Sept. 30, Butler County Oct. 10 and Pratt Oct. 17.
A graduate of Bishop Ward High School, Mendez played soccer at Park University and club soccer in Mexico. He has 15 years of coaching experience at the high school level at SM North and at the club level with the Kansas City Fusion.
2014 KCKCC WOMEN’S SOCCER SCHEDULE
Sept. 4 – COFFEYVILLE*, Home, 5 p.m.
Sept. 9 – Barton County*, Away, 2 p.m.
Sept. 11 – Blue River, Away, 2:30 p.m.
Sept. 15 – Maple Woods, Away, 2 p.m.
Sept. 23 – NEOSHO COUNTY*, Home, 6 p.m.
Sept. 26 – Hutchinson*, Away, 3 p.m.
Sept. 30 – COWLEY*, Home, 6 p.m.
Oct. 3-5 – Thunder Duck Tournament, Dallas, Tex.
Oct. 7 – Allen County*, Away, 2 p.m.
Oct. 10 – BUTLER COUNTY*, Home, 6 p.m.
Oct. 14 – Johnson County*, Away, 1 p.m.
Oct. 17 – PRATT*, Home, 5 p.m.
Oct. 21 – Garden City*, Away, 6 p.m.
Oct. 24 – Dodge City*, Away, TBA
2014 KCKCC WOMEN’S SOCCER ROSTER
No. Ht. Yr. Pos. Hometown (High School)
9 Kennedy Bizzell 5-9 Fr. K Kansas City, KS. (Bonner Springs)
2 Wendy Galvan 5-5 Fr. MF Kansas City, KS. (F.L. Schlagle)
3 Torrie Wright 5-2 So. MF Killleen, Tex. (Ellison)
4 Chase Holle 5-7 Fr. Def. Kansas City, KS. (J.C. Harmon)
5 Zayra Gonzalez 5-8 So. Def. Kansas City, MO. (Lincoln Prep)
6 Sonia Reyes 5-3 So. Def. Kansas City, KS. (J.C. Harmon)
7 Friday Landford 5-9 Fr. MF Kansas City, KS. (J.C. Harmon)
9 Karla Montes 5-5 Fr. Fwd. Kansas City, MO. (Alta Vista)
10 Dania Gomez 5-7 So. MF Kansas City, KS. (Wyandotte)
11 Krystal Uribe 5-7 So. MF Kansas City, KS. (Wyandotte)
15 Madison Simmons 5-7 Fr. MF Tonganoxie, KS. (Tonganoxie)
16 Cynthia Conchas 5-5 Fr. Fwd. Kansas City, MO. (Lincoln Prep)
17 Emily Soetaert 5-7 Fr. Fwd. Tonganoxie, KS. (Tonganoxie)
18 Shayna Thomas 5-9 So. MF Shawnee, KS. (SM North)
24 Marissa Alaniz 5-6 Fr. Def. Kansas City, MO. (Cristo Rey)
HEAD COACH – Ruben Rodriguez (third season)
ASSISTANT COACH – Alex Mason (first season)