College Corner: Women’s Soccer
When New Mexico high school soccer players tried to move the ball into the Los Lunas Lady Tigers’ half of the field a few years ago, a diminutive blonde often slid in and knocked the ball away.
That blonde, Avi Garcia, went on to play four seasons at Colorado State University-Pueblo, where she recently completed her senior season.
“I have had tremendous pride in being a Thunderwolf,”said Garcia, who plans to graduate from CSU-P on May 4. “Even on our coldest night games, we still had the community and students cheering us on in the stands. We really couldn’t have done it without the support of our school and community.”
Garcia earned five varsity letters and a standout defender on Los Lunas High teams that struggled at times, but eventually made it to the state tournament her senior season of 2008. The CSU-P coach who recruited her Dave Morris, departed soon thereafter, and Janet Cassidy was the coach throughout Garcia’s college career.
The Thunderwolves have not been very successful in getting wins the past few seasons. They went 2-13-2 overall and 2-11-1 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in 2012.
However, the 2009 LLHS graduate contributed as much as she could. Garcia, who played forward, played in 17 matches, starting 11 times. She didn’t score any goals, but she took nine shots, and put two of those shots on frame.
Garcia said the road trips with the team were one of the many highlights of her college career.
“This is the goofiest, craziest, most talented team I have ever been a part of, and have been so thankful for the opportunity to play the sport I love,” she said. “This team is full of extremely talented players. Even when we struggled we would stay positive and continue to work harder and dig deeper. We never gave up.”
Garcia said maintaining a focus on academics wasn’t easy.
“I think the biggest accomplishment for me is that I was able to play all four years, will graduate in four years, and made the dean’s list every semester,” she said.
University of St. Mary, Kansas
Hinkle tore the ACL and lateral meniscus in her left knee toward the end of the 2011 season. That injury led to her seeing limited action in the first part of 2012, but Hinkle was able to return to the stating lineup by mid-season. She’ll be a senior in 2013-14 at St. Mary, which is in Leavenworth, Kan.
“I’m still getting my knee back to full strength,” said Hinkle, a 2010 Los Lunas High graduate. “I am focusing on getting some speed and strength back into my left leg.”
The Lady Spires, an NAIA team, went 9-8-2 overall in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference. They lost a one-goal match in the first round of the conference playoffs.
“We made it into the conference tournament two years in a row, which was really good,” said Hinkle. “This was our first year with our new head coach Justin Seever. He is doing extremely well, and has been making a lot of changes to the program.”
Mendocino Junior College
D’Arcangeli, who played for both Belen and Los Lunas in her high school career, recently completed her second and final season at the junior college level.
The Eagles won the Bay Valley Conference title in 2012, going 11-0-1 in conference and 16-2-3 overall. D’Arcangeli was among four Eagles to be named first-team all-conference.
Mendocino is coached by former Cibola and Rio Vista Football Club coach Shane Huff.
D’Arcangeli’s younger sister, Kaitlyn, is about to graduate from Belen High after a Los Lunas and Belen career in which she became a do-everything scoring midfielder. Candice, the oldest of the three sisters, is a former North Dakota State player who assisted BHS girls coach Wilfred Carrasco last fall. Cameron, their brother, also played for the two high schools.
The upcoming college plans for Kayla and her sister Kaitlyn are undetermined.
Unversity of Arkansas-Little Rock
Carrasco finished her career as a Trojan on a team that struggled. UALR, a Division I team, went 2-16 overall and 1-9 in the Sun Belt Conference.
Carrasco, a defender, started all 18 of the Trojans’ matches. She had six shots, with five landing on goal, but did not score.
The 2009 Los Lunas High graduate helped the Lady Tigers place second in District 5-5A in 2008, and the Lady Tigers went 1-1 in the state playoffs. She also played for several club teams.
Eastern N.M. University
The 2011 Belen High graduate and sister of Olivia Carrasco played in only one match for the Zias in 2012. She suffered what she says is the sixth concussion of her career, and has decided to hang up the cleats at Eastern.
“It was best for my health not to play anymore,” she said. “Although I miss it so much.”
Eastern N.M. University
Serrano returned from a knee injury her for 2012, her junior season, but only ended up playing in nine matches. She made eight starts, getting five shots on goal and scoring once.
“There was some issues with our old compliance director, and a lot of the athletes here became ineligible,” said Serrano.
The 2009 Los Lunas High graduate said she’s looking forward to her senior season.
Metro State College
Ipock, the 2009 District 5-5A Player of the Year during her senior year at Los Lunas High, played her freshman year at New Mexico State before transferring to Metro, a Division II, Denver-area school.
The 2010 LLHS graduate broke her right tibia in the 2012 season opener. She had to sit out the entire season, but is determined to return strong for what will be her junior season.
“I still limp when I sprint, but it’ll be better soon,” Ipock said in a recent interview. “I redshirted this year. I’m actually double majoring in Sports Industry Operations and Journalism. I should graduate in the winter of 2014.”
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