COLUMBUS – When the Columbus girls’ soccer team takes the pitch this season the Lady Cardinals will have challenges to face this season.
The biggest new challenge the Columbus girls will face is replacing a star goalkeeper.
The biggest old challenge the Division 3A Lady Cardinal squad will face is going up against mostly Division 4A schools inside the division.
“We’re in a new district this year,” said head girls soccer coach Ross Macha, “and we haven’t played many of the schools. So we’re not sure what to expect in district play this season. We were able to make the playoffs last season in only our second year as a program, and we only lost three seniors. However, they were three pretty good seniors, so I need a few of the girls to step up. We have a couple of good senior leaders, and a strong junior class, so I think we’re capable of stepping up to the challenge.”
Macha, who is in his third year coaching soccer and his fourth year at the school, said the one of the biggest challenges his squad will face is that there isn’t a 3A division for UIL soccer.
“That means we have to compete in a 4A district, which is a big challenge,” said Macha.
The Lady Cards will be competing twice each season against teams like Stafford, Royal, Fulshear, Needville and Sealy.
There is one other very new face on the soccer scene in Colorado County which Macha’s girls have on their schedule. That would be district and division 3A rival Rice Consolidated, which is in its first year of soccer.
“When we started the program three years ago, we were a team heavy with freshmen. They were forced to play varsity games when they probably would have been playing junior varsity at a lot of other schools,” said Macha. “That was difficult at the time, but I think it resulted in these girls being a lot more battle tested than other girls their age. They’ve been playing together for a while and they’ve reached the point where they have a good sense of how to work together and play as a team.”
From a personnel perspective the big challenge Macha faces this season is finding a goalkeeper to replace his first team All-District goalkeeper from a year ago.
Macha thinks he may have found at least one candidate for the position, maybe two.
“Freshman Lourdes Medina Baca has earned the starting job,” he said. “Sophomore Liza Rocha will start at sweeper but will also get some time at goalkeeper.”
This coach has a plan going into the new season.
“We have a few girls who are skilled offensively, but not as many as some other programs we will face. We’re going to win games by playing good defense and grinding it out.”
That means Macha believes he will be able to put his team in position to win a lot of low-scoring games.
Macha has four seniors returning this year. Two started a year ago and earned All-District honors last season. “Leti Murga is our center midfielder, and she is a very intelligent player who provides strong leadership. Anjelica Mendoza is a tough defender at center back who also provides strong leadership on the defensive side of the field.”
Macha also has two forwards who were first team All-District last season.
“Junior Jessica Elias is a very talented offensive player who is good both at scoring and getting her teammates involved in the game,” said Macha who coached defensive tackles for varsity football at Columbus.
He said sophomore Brittany Vasquez is a gifted ball-handler who led the Lady Raiders in scoring as a freshman.