Expectations are at an all-time high for the Delta College women’s soccer team this season after 2018 saw the Mustangs go 19-4-3 and make program history with a trip to the state championship for the first time.
Off to a 2-0-1 start this season, the Mustangs under head coach Adrienne Sorenson have even bigger expectations with most of their team returning, including more than 70 percent of an offense that scored 81 goals last season.
“More goals, that’s the one thing I want more,” said Jay Ha when asked what she wants to see after a season-opening 5-0 win against West Valley that saw her score a goal in the first half. Ha led the team last season with 13 goals.
Through the first three games, the Mustangs have scored eight goals, led by Jaylin Meza, who has scored three goals already this season after scoring a second-best 11 goals last season.
“Definitely looking to get back to the final four and compete for a state championship,” said Sorenson when asked about the goals for this season.
“We understand that it’s not going to be as easy as it was last year to get back. There’s definitely a target on our backs now, especially with so many returners. We are going to get everyone’s best look every game.”
With a majority of last season’s team back, the biggest hole to fill coming into the year is in goal where the Mustangs have to replace team MVP Amanda Leal. Through the first three games, Marcella Salyer has started every game in goal with Callie Crain coming in at halftime and playing the second half.
“I’m really excited about our goalkeeping this year,” said Sorenson. “Marcella has been really good all summer and she definitely has earned her opportunity to start. Then we have freshman Callie Crain who was a top prospect in the area and she is coming in and competing also and I think it just makes both of them better.”
Over the summer Sorenson went to France for the Women’s World Cup and had an amazing time going to multiple games including the USA vs. France quarterfinal game.
“(U.S.A. head coach) Jill Ellis talked about pressure and how other teams and programs shy away from pressure like it is a bad thing,” said Sorenson about what she brought back from the once-in-a-lifetime experience and shared with her team.
“She said for the U.S. women that they live in pressure and they can’t live without pressure. I think for this group with a target on our backs and so many players returning that’s the kind of environment we want to have every day. We want the pressure, we want to put pressure on each other at practice to be better, we want lots of competition and I think that makes everybody better.”
With a deep team of returning players and talented newcomers, the Mustangs have had 26 players already see the pitch.
“We live for pressure,” said Ha. “We like the pressure. It kind of puts a target on us but it’s fun having people chase us.”
On Friday night the Mustangs will be at home, where they went undefeated last season, for a 5 p.m. kickoff against Los Medanos.