Ana Duraes Peixoto

SMC Corsair / Daily Press Staff writer

Returning as Western State Conference champions for the first time in history with an impressive 15 wins, three losses and two ties, the SMC Women’s soccer team’s goal is to push to even higher levels and uphold the program’s high personal, academic, and competitive standards.

With the regular 2018 season underway, The Corsairs have managed to defeat their first four opponents: Oxnard College, Long Beach City College, El Camino College and MiraCosta College with a successful average of 5.25 goals per game.

Head Coach Aaron Benditson said the team was ready to take on their biggest challenge so far with Santa Barbara City College (SBCC).

“If we want to obtain what Santa Barbara has obtained, getting into a state championship, making deep runs into the playoffs, we are gonna run into these types of teams,” he said. “How do we react against them, how can we shape up against them? I just want us to be as confident and ready as we can be for the opportunity to play against them.”

Despite their preparation, SMC lost to the state runner-ups, SBCC, who won 2-1. The SBCC Vaqueros finished their past season undefeated and presented a formidable challenge to the Corsairs.

“It’s about progressing everyday. I always tell the girls we are gonna test ourselves against the best in the state because that will give us a sense of really where we are at,” Benditson said.

The Corsairs’ current top scorers are midfielders Antoinette Saldana and Filippa Struxsjo with seven and six goals respectively. The challenge for the team is to find a balance with a quick two-year rotational system after top players such as Daisy Serrano, Josseline Espinoza and goalie Emma Romero moved on with their academic careers.

“We have a lot of talented players, especially our sophomores” said Benditson. “Number six, Antoinette Saldana our center midfielder, she is one of our top players.”

Twelve new freshmen join the ten sophomores; adding novelty and power combined with the strong leadership skills required at higher level.

“We have a great international player, Filippa Struxsjo (midfielder no. 17) from Sweden. I am also very excited about our new freshman Ceirra Little (forward no. 7), she is super explosive, a dynamic runner with and without the ball, she is very exciting to watch,” said Benditson.

He also praised a recent addition to the team.

“And last but not least I would say a newcomer that has come in and is gonna make an impact right away is Daily Ramos (midfielder no. 13), those are just a couple that really are sticking out and have already shown their quality on the field,” he said.

This story was published as part of an ongoing partnership between the SMC Corsair Student newspaper and the Santa Monica Daily Press.

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