Avoiding injuries key for rebound GCCC soccer season
By J. Levi Burnfin
Injuries could derail a season just as quickly as anything else.
That's what happened to the Garden City Community College women's soccer team last season under head coach Ki Thornberry.
Routinely limited due to several injuries to key players, the Lady Busters went 1-15 overall and 1-11 in the conference, gaining their lone win in the last match of the season against Allen County.
So understandably, the focus heading into 2013 is injury prevention for Thornberry.
"That's why we started our offseason early," said Thornberry. "We're trying to get our bodies ready and prepared."
Aiding in that process will be the extended season that the Jayhawk Conference enacted starting this year, adding two weeks to the end of the season. Thornberry said the extra two weeks will allow for more time in between matches to rest and heal.
Hopefully, she said, that will keep her players healthy and allow her to field her best team each week — a team she feels can show vast improvement.
"We filled some holes on offense and defense (in the offseason)," she said.
Thornberry pointed to a talented crop of freshmen that can help get the Lady Busters turned around, starting in the season opener at home in the new athletics stadium at 5 p.m. on Friday against Trinidad State (Colo.) Junior College.
One of those freshmen is Juana Landeros, an Emporia High School product.
"I expect really good things of Landeros," said Thornberry, noting that Landeros scored three goals in a scrimmage against the Garden City High School team this preseason.
Landeros will be joined by sophomore transfer Kendra Huddleston on the forward line of the Lady Busters' attack for Friday's game.
Returners Kyra Bussen and Alexa Ortiz will man the center of the Lady Busters' back line, flanked by sophomore transfer Talia Villa and freshman Laura Guevara.
In the midfield, returners Deydi Depaz, attacking center mid, and Lizeth Gomez, defensive center mid, will anchor a four-player line. Harlie Hammermeister and local Garden City High School product Carla Velasquez will provide extra scoring threats at right and left mid, respectively.
Velasquez is "a coach's dream," Thornberry said. "A really hard-working kid."
In the net against Trinidad will be Daniela Puente.
Thornberry is confident her team will show plenty of improvement during the season. But she also said that improvement needs to show up in the record.
"Any match right now is going to be important to us," she said about the opener against a non-conference opponent. "They'll tell us how much we have improved and how much we need to improve."