Backline forms backbone of team

GIRLS SOCCER In their third season, the Lady Brahmas started rough with a 0-3-1 record.

Eric Hong, Opinion Editor

Injuries continue to plague the Diamond Bar varsity girls soccer team. With four potential starting defenders currently out of the game and nine total players out hurt,  the team faces a similar situation to last year when 10  players were lost  due to injuries.

The Brahmas are currently 0-3-1 in the Palomares League after a 3-6-3 record in the preseason.

Centerbacks senior Delaney Donohue and sophomore Jaida Wilson, who had been out with a broken finger, have taken charge of the backline, which continues to be the strength of the team.

While the Brahmas’ defense remains the team’s strong suit, there is still room for improvement in some areas, according to head coach Matt  Franco.

“As strong as we are defensively, it’s mostly just covering each other defensively. We’ve been working on the defenders shifting and working together as a unit,” he said.

Leading the team with three goals, Pak has transitioned from the backline to an attacking position, joining three freshmen starters: midfielder Valerie Araya, forward and midfielder Samantha Rueles, and midfielder Marissa Vazques, who was moved from JV during the season.

“She’s been attacking from the midfield, giving us the best opportunities with our speed up top. She’s able to find through-balls and has great vision,” Franco said.

Improving offense had been a priority during the previous season. This year, the Brahmas have added another attacking midfield position to its formation in order to create more shooting opportunities.

“We’re getting more chances the last few games—more shots on goal, which is what we’ve been working at. It’s just a matter of keeping these girls healthy and some consistency,” Franco said. “We have speed. We have the players to do it. It’s just building the chemistry, connecting in the final third.”

Junior co-captain Samantha Blazek continues to serve as the main goalkeeper, leading with 6.9 saves per game.

“Especially when some of our defenders are hurting, she’s making big saves when we need her to and keeps us in the games,” Franco said.

Since the past season, the team has been placing an emphasis on building a team mentality. Franco has been focusing on making sure the players regard each other as equals regardless of seniority.

“Just because a player is a senior doesn’t mean they’re entitled to anything; just because they’re a freshman doesn’t mean they’re at the bottom of the totem pole. They’re entitled to everything a seniors is on this team.”

The Brahmas contended in the Division I Aliso Cup last month, losing 1-0 to the San Clemente Tritons and the Long Beach Polytechnic Jackrabbits, and beating the Chino Hills Huskies 1-0.

“They all come from different club teams and different coaching styles so it’s fun seeing the talent we have here. It’s just trying to put it together and get them to play together.”Franco said.

Today, the Brahmas will face the undefeated Glendora Tartans, looking to redeem a 3-0 loss.