YVCC soccer adding results to injuries

October 27, 2011 by  

YAKIMA, Wash. — Like baseball and basketball, soccer has its own on-field dialogue. Among the more basic verbal responses are, “Nice save,” or “Nice pass,” or, on the occasion of having scored a goal, a chorus of teammates yelling, “Yes!”

But for Yakima Valley’s women this season, the terminology has all too often included, “Ow!”

Briana Mares, a freshman from Eisenhower, recently expressed that sentiment while removing tape from her sore right ankle.

Yakima Valley Community College soccer player Michelle Galvan during practice Oct. 25, 2011. (Gordon King/Yakima Herald-Republic)

“I rolled it the other day,” she said. “I can still play, but it’s just really annoying.”

Others among coach Jake Sagare’s Yaks can no doubt relate.

An inordinate amount of health problems have depleted YVCC’s ranks, yet the team remains in strong contention for the third and final playoff berth in the power-laden East Region.

Following Wednesday’s 12-1 victory over Wenatchee Valley, the Yaks were 8-4-0 in the region and 10-5-1 overall. They also were ranked fifth in the most recent NWAACC coaches poll, with East competitors Spokane and Walla Walla occupying the top two spots, respectively.

“Toward the end of my own playing career,” said Sagare, “I was kind of injury-prone. But as a coach, this is something of a new issue.”

To date, no fewer than 13 of YVCC’s 19 players have been slowed by some sort of health issue with nine missing one or more matches because of them.

Ailments have ranged from Alma Garcia’s swollen ankle resulting from a bee sting to recurring knee problems for Adrianna Jones to a severe ankle sprain to Morgan McDowell, whom Sagare reported Tuesday was hospitalized and awaiting an appendectomy.

“It seems like it’s always been something,” said Michelle Galvan, a sophomore from Sunnyside. “At least we haven’t all been hurt or sick at the same time.”

Yakima Valley Community College soccer player Katy Allen during practice Oct. 25, 2011. (Gordon King/Yakima Herald-Republic)

And at least Jones, a sophomore from East Valley and one of the team’s best scoring threats, returned Wednesday for limited action after missing the four previous games.

And Sagare, meanwhile, has not only juggled personnel effectively enough to keep YVCC in the postseason mix, he has uncovered new potential in the process.

“I’ve had to change our lineups around,” he said, “and hope that the girls who normally haven’t had to play defense would pick it up pretty quickly. Some of them have been a pleasant surprise and have stepped in and done pretty well, so later I’ve had to decide whether to go back to the old lineup.”

As one would imagine because of the myriad of injuries and illness, the Yaks have had their competitive ups and downs. Nonetheless, they have a signature victory to their credit — a 1-0 triumph over archrival Columbia Basin on Oct. 15 that came via Kaylah Gonzales’ 70th-minute goal.

Another EV alum, Gonzales has scored five goals and added six assists this year. Katy Allen and Elizabeth Figueroa, both from Eisenhower, lead the team with 14 and nine goals respectively, while Jones has six, according to NWAACC statistics.

“That was a big boost for us,” said Sagare, who’s in his third season as YVCC’s mentor. “I think the girls realize the challenge of our conference, and I think the win against CBC did a lot for our confidence. And of course there are some personal rivalries between our players and theirs (the Hawks list athletes from Grandview, East Valley and Sunnyside on their roster).”

Said Allen, a sophomore, “The CBC game was big — probably our best win of the year.”

There will be a rematch next Wednesday at Pasco which, along with Saturday’s home match with Walla Walla and a regular-season finale on Nov. 5 with Treasure Valley, also at home, will determine Yakima Valley’s fate.

“As a coach,” Sagare said, “you want your team to peak at the right time. I think we can compete with any team in our conference if we approach our potential, so now it’s just a matter of peaking at the right time.

“That and getting everyone healthy.”

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