SMC — Santa Monica College began its fall semester this week, but the women’s soccer team has already been hard at work for the past four months preparing for their season opener.

Last season’s disappointing 1-0 first round playoff loss to El Camino College has been well forgotten for the Corsairs as they are focusing all of their attention on getting back to the playoffs.

Last season, the Corsairs finished with a record of 12-4-5 and 11-2 in the Western Conference, earning second place in the South Division. The Corsairs where led by freshman Olivia Patterson who paced the team with 12 goals. Also contributing to the team’s success were Mercy Tejada, who had 10 goals, Samantha Lee and Alisha Sheldon, who led the team in saves with 93.

The Corsairs come into this season with more motivation and experience then last year as they are returning nine players who can make an immediate impact.

“This year we are already ready with a high fitness level and higher competitive spirit,” Sheldon said.

Lee, the only defensive specialist returning this season, is taking it upon herself to push the defense.

“I have to step up my game,” she said. “Be more of a leader.”

Coach Aaron Benditson will look to her to set the tone for the defensive unit.

As the start of the season nears, all of the returners say they are up to the task of a return visit to the postseason.

“Our goal is to win a conference championship,” Benditson said.

Benditson is going into his seventh year as women’s soccer head coach. He and his staff have laid a solid foundation for his team, now it’s just a matter of getting the job done.

Benditson has high expectations for his squad, seeing that they are more experienced this year and already have a good fitness regimen going.

“It took us a quarter of a season for the girls to get physically fit,” said Benditson “Were starting from a lot higher standard this year.”

news@smdp.com