Lady Brahmas look to fill in offense

Ingrid Chan, Staff Writer

Diamond Bar High School’s girls soccer team, plagued with injuries this year, finished the season with a 3-6-1 league record.

“I think we struggled a lot this season. We did OK in the preseason, especially when playing against some division one teams, but when league started, we got off on the wrong foot,” junior Valerie Swisher said.

While looking forward to next season, the team will do it without some key players. Senior captains Kayla Pak and Delaney Donohue are among those who will graduate.  Though both are defenders, Pak led the team in goals and Delaney constantly kept the backline organized.

“The two are great players as well as people with good character who did all they could for this program. It’s hard to find players like that,” head coach Matt Franco said.

Though the team will definitely feel their absence, there are a handful of  promising underclassmen who are capable of taking on bigger roles next year, according to Franco. Franco expects junior captain Samantha Blazek, this year’s starting goalie, to lead the team next year. Swisher and sophomore Jaida Wilson are also likely to take on bigger roles.

Overall, Franco hopes to improve the team’s offense. Some changes will be made to the Lady Brahmas’ preseason schedule in order to continue challenging the girls and to give those on lower level teams more opportunities to advance.  

Last year, several girls from the team participated in the summer soccer league for the first time. There, the girls practiced every day after summer school and had two games a week during a six-week stretch. Franco intends to continue encouraging participation in the future as it helps him identify those with potential.

“It’s a good way to see what players are coming in and it gives players from lower levels a chance at playing against other varsity teams before we have tryouts in the fall,” Franco said.

Pak carried the team’s offense this season with a total of eighteen points and nine goals, a big contribution when compared to the other players who average two goals per person.  Next year, Franco hopes to have the goals more evenly distributed among the players.

“It’s best when we move quickly on and off the ball,” Franco said.