By Jorge Campos
For the first time in five years, the Dons won at least seven games in a season.
“Some changes were made last year, and the ladies are adapting. They had a good camp and it showed,” Head Coach Jaymie Baquero said. “The fact that we won quite a few more games than last year speaks for itself.”
The Dons finished non-conference play with a 4-1 record, but have managed only three wins in the Orange Empire Conference through 15 OEC matches. This year marks the first time in team history that there are no ties through 20 games.
It also marks the first time since the team’s inception in 1994 that the women will finish with a better record than the men’s team.
“We’ve made strides in showing what this program and this school is capable of doing,” Baquero said.
She was hired last year.
For the sophomores on the team, winning five more games this season made the conference finish a little easier to handle. They now leave the freshmen a foundation from which to build on.
“We aren’t taking conference or winning every game, but the fact that we can say we’ve made Santa Ana soccer a better program in winning more games than the past years is a great feeling,” midfielder Makenna Roa said.
The Dons dropped its final home game of the season, 4-1, to the Fullerton College Hornets Nov. 10. For the sophomores playing for the last time at home didn’t sink in until the game was over.
“For the first time, winning games compared to last season feels good, having those wins that we did get made it so memorable for me,” Defender Cristina Lizarraga said.
Lizarraga had the lone assist for the Dons as she crossed the ball to forward Gabriela Rodriguez for the score in the first half. It was the last point of her Dons career.
“Soccer has been a big part of my life, its upsetting knowing there is gonna be a void there now,” Lizarraga said. “But I met some great people. These girls are like sisters to me now and not being from around here it feels great to have made those connections.”
There is a buzz surrounding a team who improved five wins over last season, now entering the recruiting season on a positive note.
“We’re building momentum. All throughout camp people were talking about us. The community is picking up on that and that’s only gonna keep going. We will keep moving up,” Baquero said.