With nine starting players out last season, The Master’s University women’s soccer team had to adapt quickly.
Underclassmen were pulled into unexpected starting positions and forced to deal with the pressure that came with it.
Last year’s result was a fourth-place finish in the Golden State Athletic Conference and a trip to the conference tournament. This year, with the return of the recovered players, a bonus result is a competitive, deep team with skill at every position.
“You have (returners) hungry to be the starters like they were, but these other girls who became starters, they’re hungry and they want to keep positions,” said coach Curtis Lewis. “I think that’s helping create a competitive environment and a little bit of the depth as well.”
Lynnae George returns on the attack for her junior campaign. Last season, she had nine points on the season with four goals and one assist.
“Last year I lost both of my other starting forwards,” George, who was an All-GSAC player last season, said. “We had a couple new girls come and it was fun, but it was challenging. I’m excited to have the girls who are injured back and also to work with the new freshmen.”
Kellian Ahearn, a senior, is back at forward after missing the past two seasons due to injury. Last season, she tore her ACL on the firsts day of practice, an early blow to the team.
Despite two years away from the pitch, she’s still one of the fastest players on the team.
“I came out here and I was one of the girls that went the farthest in the beep test (which measures speed and endurance), so it kind of gave me some confidence to play,” Ahearn said. “And after I got through that first day, I just had more confidence.”
Sophomore Lacey Lehman, a Saugus High grad, is the new starting goalkeeper after the graduation of Jessica Zubia, who’s now a coach. Lehman constantly stays after practice with Zubia to get in extra touches and saves.
Her speed and agility overshadow
her underclassman status.
“She’s explosive,” George said. “So that’s important for a goalkeeper because her explosiveness helps her jump. So she can jump to the side, jump to the right, left. She can get out there fast.”
Other Santa Clarita players listed on TMU’s roster include: Jasmine Parada (Valencia High), Brooke Rickard (Hart), Hannah Bahr (Saugus), Gianna Crimi (West Ranch) and Lilly Duncan (Hart).
The Mustangs begin their season with a home game against Sierra Nevada on Thursday, August 17 at 4 p.m.