Girls’ soccer uses preseason to adjust to changes

December 12, 2008 — by Aditi Jayaraman and Tim Rollinson

The girls’ soccer team is trying to gel around a new coach and integrate three freshmen and three new sophomores—a challenge that has shown up in some pre-season losses.

“[The girls] are just getting to know each other and play as a team, which is what preseason is about,” said new coach Tulin Mendoza.

Mendoza has been coaching for the past 15 years at a number of different high schools, youth programs and Olympic development programs in the Bay Area. Mendoza expressed enthusiasm about working with the lady Falcons this year, but feels there’s much room for improvement.

“I think this year’s group of girls really represents what Saratoga sports are about,” said Mendoza, “The preseason record of three losses and one tie doesn’t reflect how talented these girls are.”

Senior captains Claire Marsh, Katie Marsh and Hana Pruzansky are trying to bring players closer together.

“I think we have some of the best individual players have begun on our team this year,” said Pruzansky, “but we’ve been struggling to find connections.”

Despite the team’s 4-0 loss to Homestead during a home game on Dec. 8, players have begun to communicate more on the field, said Pruzansky. This season’s lineup consists of forwards Katie and Claire Marsh, and Kelly Darchuk, mid-fielders Jordan Leonard, Sloan Lewis and Ren Norris, and defenders Kari Clark, Colleen Garland, Sarah Guy and Sam Li. Goalie Jan Iyer, who was recently out because of a bruised achilles, has returned to play.

“We just need to be more confident,” said Pruzansky. “If we fire it up, and increase our intensity we can really play up to our potential.”

The Homestead game was a valuable experience for the girls who have moved into division A in the El Camino League.

“I think the preseason will teach us a lot of things we need to work on, especially playing against division A teams,” said junior Sam Li.

With tough practice and challenging games ahead of them, the girls under the guidance of Mendoza hope to utilize their full potential as they tackle a demanding season.

“[The girls] are very talented and receptive and I think that the practice in the preseason will help to prepare the team for league games,” said Mendoza. “If you asked me if I think they are going to be champions, I would say ‘yes.’”

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