By DIEGO LOZANO III
The Pima Community College women’s soccer team began the 2013 season with a few question marks etched onto this fresh bundle of talent.
Coach Kendra Veliz anticipated a period of adjustment for her players as they lunged to a bitter start, going 2-2 in the team’s first four games of the season.
Their conference record is now 3-3-1, and the cohesion among the women is steadily improving.
The Aztecs hosted Arizona Western College on Sept.14 in a defensive-dictated battle.
PCC tallied 10 shots on goal by the game’s end, but it took just one to swipe a 1-0 victory from the Matadors.
Freshman Sarah Dunbar capitalized on a corner assist from sophomore Kamree Cady in the 77th minute for the game’s only goal.
The Aztecs traveled north on Sept. 12 to tackle Phoenix College at the Rose Mofford Sports Complex in the state’s capital.
Freshman Rachel Ridlinghafer scored goals in the 29th and 37th minutes to give Pima a 2-1 lead.
A second-half score by Phoenix College forced overtime, but the game ended in a 2-2 tie.
The Aztec women left everything on the field on Sept. 10 when Paradise Valley Community College, then ranked No. 1 in the country, stepped on the grass at Kino North Grandstand.
Down by just one goal at intermission, the Aztecs lost 3-0 after the Pumas struck gold in the 76th and 83rd minutes of play.
Pima dominated GateWay Community College 5-0 on Sept. 7.
From the opening whistle, the Aztecs channeled high intensity on both ends of the field. They were in the drivers’ seat throughout the 90-minute game.
Cady ignited the scoring fest in the 12th minute when she vaulted Pima onto the scoreboard.
Freshman Larissa Adams scored in the 23rd minute. Sophomore Ashley Cardenas took the first-half score to 3-0 when she hacked through a cluttered GateWay defense to strike a goal.
Adams recorded both of PCC’s second-half points with goals in the 58th and 76th minutes of play. Her hat-trick was the team’s second of the season.
In both halves, Cardenas set up Adams to earn two assists.
Cardenas said the returning players now trust the freshmen, and called it a key to sustaining success.
“We have improved, taking it game by game, practice by practice and we’re building up skill together and finding a lot of connections,” she said.
“I’m feeling really good about our team, you know, we came out with a lot of confidence and intensity,” she said. “We really needed this win.”
Pima hosts Mesa Community College Sept. 19 at Kino North Grandstand. Kickoff is at 4:30 p.m. The match is the second of a four-game home stay.