by Alan Hoskins, KCKCC
Last season, Kansas City Kansas Community College had one of the best defenses in the women’s division of the Jayhawk Conference.
“We were second right up until the last week of the season,” said fourth-year head coach Shawn Uhlenhake. “But we were also right near the bottom in goals scored.”
Uhlenhake hopes that can be rectified with a plethora of attackers who will open the season Thursday when the Blue Devils play host to State Fair Community College at 6 p.m. The Blue Devil men will also open their season Thursday against State Fair at 8 p.m.
“I think our strength will still be our defense but for once we have depth at forward,” Uhlenhake said. “We’ll have multiple players to throw at opposing defenses with hopes of finding the right combinations to give a big infusion to our offense.”
Sophomore Abby Petersen of Wichita South, who missed last season with a hip injury; and Kayla Deaver, a Lee’s Summit transfer from Central Methodist, are the most experienced of the forwards. They’ll be joined by promising freshmen Marissa Stratton and Madison Broeker, who were high school teammates at North Star High School in Lincoln, Nebraska; and Topeka recruits Jaidyn Yingling (Seaman) and Hannah Nystrom (West).
Returning starters Sydney Guerra of Perry, Iowa, and Alex Schemmel of DeSoto will anchor the defense along with sophomores Arlene Ruiz and Ruth Nunez, both of Liberal.
“We expect freshmen Katrina Sargent (Shawnee Mission South), Paige Liston (Bishop Carroll), Caroline Rutledge (Mill Valley) and Hailey Coates (Shawnee Mission Northwest) to compete for positions on the back line,” Uhlenhake said.
Guerra will be the captain of the Blue Devils. “She is very good at organizing the players in front of her, anticipates very well and is a great ball winner,” Uhlenhake said. The goalkeeping will be in the hands of Jaidyn Takaishi, a freshman from Olathe North.
Sophomores Karleigh Enyart of Olathe Northwest, Jasmine Diaz of DeSoto and Tina Alvarez of Seattle, Washington, will be joined at midfield by a quartet of promising freshmen including Kayley Pedersen of Shawnee Mission West, Corrine Hughes of Grain Valley, Bryanna Najera of Washington High School and Melisa Siegel of Endingen, Germany.
“Kayley Pedersen controls the ball very well at midfield and is able to transition our offense quickly and put our attackers in the best position to score,” Uhlenhake said.
The Blue Devils will open the season with three straight contests at home. Following Thursday’s opener against State Fair, the Blue Devils will play host to Iowa Central on Sunday, Sept. 1, before opening Jayhawk Conference play against perennial power Butler County Sept. 4.
“As is the case every year, we’ll have quite a few freshmen (14) but most of these freshmen have played at a pretty high level so the level of inexperience is not as pronounced as the last couple of years,” said Uhlenhake, who is again being assisted by Sara Matthews. “Our first conference game against Butler will be a really good early season test to see where we stand.”
Kansas City Kansas Community College
2019 Women’s Soccer Schedule
Thursday Aug. 22 STATE FAIR, Home 6 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 1 IOWA CENTRAL, Home Noon
Wednesday, Sept. 4 BUTLER COUNTY, Home 6 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 7 Neosho County, Chanute 5 p.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 11 COWLEY COLLEGE, Home 5 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 14 Metropolitan, Blue River 11:30 a.m.
Wednesday, Sept. 18 Johnson County, Overland Park 5 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 21 ALLEN COUNTY, Home 5 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 25 Coffeyville, Coffeyville 5 p.m.
Saturday, Sept. 28 Butler County, El Dorado 7 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 2 NEOSHO COUNTY, Home 5 p.m.
Saturday, Oct. 5 Cowley College, Arkansas City 2 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 11 JOHNSON COUNTY, Home 2 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 16 Allen County, Iola 2 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 20 COFFEYVILLE, Home 2 p.m.