A new direction: Lake Tahoe Community College women’s soccer starts fresh with Evans | TahoeDailyTribune.com

A new direction: Lake Tahoe Community College women’s soccer starts fresh with Evans

Anthony Gentile
Lake Tahoe freshman Kendall Eagan dribbles in attack during practice on Friday, Aug. 21. Eagan, a South Tahoe alum, is expected to make an immediate impact for the Coyotes.
Anthony Gentile / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

2015 Regular Season Schedule

Aug. 28 vs. Diablo Valley, 4 p.m.

Sept. 1 vs. Santa Rosa, 2 p.m.

Sept. 4 at Cabrillo, 7 p.m.

Sept. 5 at West Valley, 1 p.m.

Sept. 12 vs. Sequoias, 10 a.m.

Sept. 15 vs. Sierra, 5 p.m.

Sept. 18 at Cosumnes River, 4 p.m.

Sept. 19 at Santa Rosa, 1 p.m.

*Sept. 29 at Lassen, 2 p.m.

*Oct. 6 at Feather River, 2 p.m.

*Oct. 9 vs. Butte, 4 p.m.

*Oct. 13 vs. Redwoods, 2 p.m. (at Butte)

*Oct. 20 at Shasta, 2 p.m.

*Oct. 27 vs. Lassen, 2 p.m.

*Oct. 30 vs. Feather River, 4 p.m.

*Nov. 3 at Butte, Noon

*Nov. 6 vs. Redwoods, 2 p.m. (at Shasta)

*Nov. 13 vs. Shasta, 1 p.m.

*Golden Valley Conference match

Home matches in bold

In its second season, Lake Tahoe Community College women’s soccer team is starting fresh. The Coyotes enter 2015 under new head coach Jeremy Evans, and they will look to replicate the success of the program’s inaugural campaign while creating a foundation for the future.

“I think there are cool things to come here with the field, the college and the community supporting a program,” Evans said. “This can be a special place to play community college soccer in Northern California. It’s in one of the most beautiful places in the state.”

Evans was hired in April after coaching for five seasons at South Tahoe High School. In his last two seasons as head coach, the Vikings won back-to-back Div. I-A state championships. He replaced Christian DeLeon, who moved to Sierra Nevada College’s NAIA program after guiding LTCC to a playoff appearance last season.

“When I got the job, I essentially had a roster of zero,” Evans said. “It wasn’t hard having to find players. I just had to work harder to find them. It was very difficult starting late, but that challenge has been met and here we are.”

Despite being hired late in the recruiting process, Evans ultimately put together a team he is happy about headed into the season. The Coyotes are starting the season with 21 players, most hailing from California and Nevada.

“It’s bringing in the new players that are just here to play soccer and go to school, and trying to integrate some of the older players that are working and more in the community,” Evans said. “I like the mix and my focus is making this team the best it can be.”

Seven players are back from LTCC’s inaugural team, led by defender Mackenna Lynn. The sophomore that will begin graduate school next year will anchor the Coyotes from the back line while bringing leadership and experience to the squad — and she likes what she sees so far.

“The energy is really high, and every practice everyone is contributing in some way,” Lynn said. “Whether it’s building up a starting player or a bench player in practice, everyone has a role on this team.”

LTCC’s returners include midfielder Brianna Carroll and goalkeeper Alejandra Orozco along with Fatima Garcia, Yesenia Jaimes, Minerva Sanchez, Ariana Torres-Barajas and Alexis Villanueva. All of the Coyotes’ sophomores are South Lake Tahoe natives, and take pride in representing their hometown on the pitch.

“We’re all really proud to have made it so far with low numbers and as a first year program,” Lynn said. “It was pretty huge, and to represent this town and the soccer community is so huge.”

While experience defines LTCC’s defense, its attack will depend on the development of a talented freshman. Forward Shawa Guerrero-Escobedo is expected to play up top in the Coyotes’ 4-2-3-1 formation, and the Las Vegas native has impressed during the offseason.

“She has an amazing nose for the goal and she’s getting better every day. All she wants to do is get better, and she’s soaking it up,” Evans said. “I expect her to do big things for us — she’s definitely the focal point.”

Other newcomers include South Shore products Kendall Eagan, Valeria Garcia and Alicia Rea, and Gisselle Benitez from Whittell. Northern Nevada standout and two-time all-state selection Monique Rodriguez from Lowry will also have an impact — she’ll see time in the midfield after playing striker for the Buckaroos.

“We’re starting out really strong,” Lynn said. “I’m really impressed with the girls we brought on and the recruiting Jeremy has done.”

Despite a lack of overall depth, Evans said he believes the Coyotes will be competitive in the Golden Valley Conference again after finishing second last season. LTCC’s team goal is to make the playoffs for the second year in a row, which requires a top-16 finish in Northern California.

“The key is can we all play soccer together,” Lynn said. “If we can get there, I have no doubts that we’re going to take the conference this year. I have a lot of faith in this squad and the coaching staff.”

Lake Tahoe opens its 2015 season at home Friday, Aug. 28, against Diablo Valley College (Pleasant Hill, Calif.). Kickoff is scheduled for 4 p.m.

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