Women’s soccer signed six incoming freshmen from every position on the field to replace the 10 seniors from last season’s roster.
According to coach Jay Mason, the team lacked depth at center back where last season, senior Emily Sanchez and junior Natalie Di Angelo played the majority of the minutes.
“We wanted to pick up some players that could help us in that area and give us depth and strength not just next year but for the next two, three years,” Mason said.
Mason is also signing a Division I transfer to add to the center backs signed in the recruiting class pending an official announcement.
In addition to adding depth at the back, the team will have to replace last year’s top scorer Daisy Duran.
Duran scored six goals and added two assists last season and earned a spot on the California Collegiate Athletic Association all-conference first team.
One welcome addition to the team will not come from the recruiting class.
Junior forward Sydney Yates led the team in scoring two seasons ago but missed last year due to an ACL injury.
Yates is set to return to the team for this year’s campaign.
Some of the notable departures of seniors from last season include Duran, Sanchez, goalkeeper Ricki Ives and forward Stephanie Rodriguez.
Mason believes the returning players benefitted from playing alongside last year’s senior class.
“As far as the key positions for us there’s some players that had some experience as far as our attacking midfield that I think will help them this year in being able to play with a couple of our seniors that had significant years I think helps them understand what the team needs moving forward,” Mason said.
Mason enters his third season in charge after losing in the first round of the CCAA Championship Tournament in his first two seasons.
Last year the team finished 10-6-2 overall before falling 3-1 at Sonoma State University in the first round.
“That’s one of the goals for this incoming group is to change that stat,” Mason said. “To really take us a little deeper in the conference tournament and get this group back into the NCAA Tournament.”
Despite the turnover on the roster, Mason does not plan to alter the style of play he has been trying to instill in the last two years.
“As far as our system goes we may change some things that allow us to get more of our top players on the field,” Mason said.
“We are going to continue to play more of a possession based, counter attack kind of style of soccer.”
For the coming season, Mason has set the target for the team to finish top three in the CCAA and earn a spot in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2014.
“The class is talented and I’m confident that they will make us better on a number of different levels,” Mason said.
“We have a pretty strong group here now and I think this group and this class will make us deeper and a little more well-balanced than maybe we have been in the past.”
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