by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
Sophomores will lead the way for this fall’s Kansas City Kansas Community College’s women’s soccer team.
Six sophomores and one transfer will be joined by 13 freshmen when the Lady Blue Devils open the 2018 season with a home contest with State Fair Wednesday, Aug. 22. The first kick will come at 6 p.m.
“We’ll be depending on the sophomores for leadership, that’s for sure,” said third-year Blue Devil head coach Shawn Uhlenhake. “We’ll have some growing pains but so far, this group has shown a real willingness to work for each other which is a great step in the right direction.”
The Blue Devils will have leadership at both ends of the field. Last season’s leading scorer, Itzel Almanza, returns at the forward position while Jessica Hill of Topeka Shawnee Heights will again be in goal.
“We expect Jessica to be a leader in the nets and most happy to have the return of Almanza at forward along with transfer Jasmine Blindt,” said Uhlenhake, who said the two sophs may be paired together at forward. A high school teammate of Hill at Shawnee Heights, Blindt transferred from Hutchinson Community College.
Two Shawnee sophomores, Madison Plake of DeSoto and Trinity Rosberg of Shawnee Mission North, will anchor the midfield while Carmen Rush of DeSoto and Shayla Lee of Shreveport, Louisiana, will head up the defense.
Where additional playing help will come will hinge on the progress of the big freshman class.
“Young players in new roles takes time and game experience,” Uhlenhake said. Take Alee Alter, a freshman from Kearney for example. “Alee can play every position on the field and we may play her at every position, maybe even in goal.”
Christina Alvarez from Seattle, Washington, and Sydney Guerra of Perry, Iowa, head a list of promising newcomeers along with a trio of area freshmen, Karleigh Enyart of Olathe Northwest, Alex Schemmel of DeSoto and Erin Williams of DeSoto, and the Liberal duo of Ruth Nunez and Arlene Ruiz.
Catherine Small of Wichita Maize will be joined at midfield by two Kansas City, Kansas, products, Fatima Rebollo of Harmon and Olivia Lainez of Sumner Academy while freshman Martina Glenn of Bonner Springs will back up Jessica Hill as goalkeeper.
“Position changes will be made,” Uhlenhake said. “With so many freshmen, they are going to get a chance to step in and see a lot of playing time. So far our freshmen have been a breath of fresh air. They’ve come in with a lot of energy and revived the sophomores with their enthusiasm to work with them.”
The Blue Devils will be without three freshman, Mable Mayes of Norman, Oklahoma, who is out with an injury, and Abby Peterson of Wichita South and Grace Ankrom of Van Horn, both of whom are being red-shirted because of injuries.
The Blue Devils, who are coming off seven wins – the most in KCKCC history – will play a home-and-home schedule with their five Jayhawk Conference rivals, Allen County, Neosho County, Johnson County, Coffeyville and Cowley College.
“It’s going to be tough, like it always is,” Uhlenhake said.
Uhlenhake is being assisted by former Avila University head coach Sara Matthews in her first season and goalkeeper coach Kenny Mayer in his second season.
Kansas City Kansas Community College
2018 WOMEN’S SOCCER SCHEDULE
Wed., Aug. 22 STATE FAIR, Home 6 p.m.
Wed., Sept. 5 Butler, Away 5:30 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 8 NEOSHO COUNTY*, Home 5 p.m.
Wed., Sept. 12 Cowley College*, Away 5:30 p.m.
Tues., Sept. 18 JOHNSON COUNTY*, Home 5 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 22 Allen County*, Away 2 p.m.
Wed., Sept. 26 Coffeyville*, Away 5 p.m.
Sat., Sept. 29 BUTLER, Home 5:30 p.m.
Tues., Oct. 2 Neosho County*, Away 5:30 p.m.
Sat., Oct 6 COWLEY COLLEGE*, Home 5 p.m.
Tues., Oct. 9 Blue River, Away 2 p.m.
Fri., Oct. 12 Johnson County*, Away 2 p.m.
Tues., Oct. 16 ALLEN COUNTY*, Home 5 p.m.
Sun., Oct. 21 COFFEYVILLE*, Home 5 p.m.
*Jayhawk Conference contest