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Shooting for a conference crown

August 25, 2004

Scott Melesky

Winning the Western State Conference title has always been the main

goal for the Glendale Community College women's soccer program.

It is a goal that GCC has come close to achieving, taking second

each of the past two seasons.

With the return of nine players, led by 2003 All-WSC first-team

selections Anabel Cortez and Mary Lou Buchan, Vaquero Coach Jorge

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Mena said he likes his team's chances of winning its first conference

championship.

"We have a good mix of older and younger players," Mena said.

"Anabel and Mary Lou are both great leaders and talented players that

we have back. The team has good chemistry, which will go a long way

this season."

Mena has not decided on who will start, but said that he will rely

on the Vaqueros' depth this season.

"I have never had a team with so many players that can

contribute," Mena said. "I am not used to it. We are an

offensive-minded squad and our numbers will help us in games."

GCC will have a strong crop of freshmen this season. Mena said he

will expect a lot from midfielders Roxanna Garcia, Edilma Perez,

forward Mayra Santiago and defender Erica Tobar.

"We [have] some great young players coming to the team," Mena

said. "Roxanna will play left midfield for us and has a good cross.

Edilma is also a midfielder and a tough player. Mayra gives us

finesse.

"Erica also plays very physical."

Other players expected to contribute are Abby Castellon and Melody

Mawhinney.

Castellon graduated from Burbank High last year, and helped the

Bulldogs compete in the tough Foothill League.

Mawhinney, who will battle for the goalkeeping position, graduated

from Crescenta Valley in 2003.

L.A. Pierce College won the conference title last season, and the

Vaqueros are determined to keep their rival from repeating. GCC gets

its first crack at Pierce on Oct. 12.

The Vaqueros will also host Pierce on Nov. 8. In addition, GCC

will face strong challenges from College of the Canyons and

Bakersfield College.

"Our conference is very strong and is tough to play in," Mena

said. "We want to win our conference and will have to beat schools

like L.A. Pierce College, College of the Canyons and Bakersfield

College to do that."

Mena said another important ingredient in GCC's future success is

its chemistry -- on and off the field.

"Our team really has good chemistry," Mena said. "The young kids

really get along with the old ones. They all want to win. I really

like this team. If this team stays healthy, I think that this will be

the year for us."

The Vaqueros open their season Tuesday against visiting Allan

Hancock College at 4 p.m. at the Glendale Sports Complex.

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