WNCC soccer teams opens practice for coming season
     2013-08-08      By The Gering Citizen   
Courtesy photo - WNCC’s Dani Copsey, of Gering, kicks the ball during the opening day of WNCC soccer practice on Friday at the Landers Soccer Complex. 
SCOTTSBLUFF — The Western Nebraska Community College men’s and women’s soccer teams started preparation for this season last Friday with hopes of improving upon last year’s record.

After just one day of practice, the outlook is good for an improved season and sophomore Brianna Baumann is excited to be back.

“It feels good to be back in the soccer environment,” the Spearfish, S.D., native said. “I am excited to see the new teammates. It will be a year of growing and a year to bring back the records.”

There is plenty of optimism for the season, but both Baumann and head men’s and women’s soccer coach Todd Rasnic said everything depends on how the players perform on the field.

“It is going pretty well. Obviously we are trying to get our fitness in and our touches on the ball right now,” Rasnic said. “We are doing the things that we need to do to get prepared for the season, but we have a long ways to go yet.”

Both teams have plenty of talent. The women’s team return eight players and the men’s team five players from a year ago. The women’s depth could be quite impressive with the majority of the players returning were on the defensive end. Baumann said the talent looks great.

“It looks like we have pretty good talent,” she said. “Coach recruited well. Hopefully it will be a year that we can be a team on and off the field.”

The returning players for the women include Gering’s Dani Copsey and Chanice Blanco, Scottsbluff’s Megan Patrick, Baumann, Raquel Flores and Yoanna Arellano, Anna Rinaldi, and Katie Peterson.

The men just have five returners including Scottsbluff’s Bernardo Urrea, Justin Becerra, and Tyler Patrick, Torrington’s Donovan Valentine, and Daniel Agnew. Valentine red-shirted last season.

Both teams have several other local players on the team. The women’s team added Gering’s Brooke Satur, while the men’s team has Gering’s Paul Ragone and Jarron Rasnic, and Torrington’s Josh Ring.

There are also plenty of other talented players that sparkle the rosters. Other incoming women players include Iris Rascon, Nadia Rodriguez, Bailee Dopp, Corrie McDonald, Sydnee Edwards, Brittany Scadlock, Karrisa Johnson, Alice Burgess, and Sophia Deaguero.

The new men’s players include Jonathan Roman Gonzalez, Jose Huerto, David Hernandez, Adrian Estrada, Sterling (Sage) Pemberton, Joseph Momoh, Mark Campbell, Christopher Mordue, Alberto Castro, Jorge Ramirez, Carlos Garregos Cespedes, Dwayne Allen, Taran Allen, David Lopez, and Guilherme Camnago.

Rasnic said when he recruits players, he looks for players he believes can play at the college level. So far, he has liked what he sees.

“We anticipate when they come in that they will be players that can operate at the college level,” he said. “So far we haven’t been disappointed. Last year we were plagued by the injury bug and that affected our performance as a team.”

The two teams will have three-a-days until school starts for the next 2 1/2 weeks. The Cougars’ first scrimmage will be Saturday when they will have alumni scrimmages at the Landers Soccer Complex. The women will scrimmage at noon with the men’s scrimmage to follow.

After that, the Cougar teams will have three more scrimmages before opening the season for real on Sept. 7 when they travel to Goodland, Kan., to face Northwest Kansas Technical College. WNCC’s first home games will be Region IX matches Sept. 13 and 14 against Northwest College and Sheridan College.

Rasnic said he doesn’t like to make predictions because the season depends on the players. But, so far, the potential is there.

“There is potential in everything. It is whether they live up to it or not,” Rasnic said. “Unfortunately, we can’t go out onto the field for them so we have to try to figure out ways for them to do the proper things on the field in order to be successful. The more that they buy into what we tell them and they invest in that, we should be OK.”

Baumann said that the women remember last year when they struggled offensively and they don’t want to see that kind of play this season. So far, Baumann is liking what she sees.

“Last year we didn’t have a lot of offensive players and coach recruited a lot this year,” she said. “Also, last year we had a lot of injuries and we are trying to have a stronger pre-season to avoid those injury problems. But I am very excited for the season. My favorite part of being down here is being with the team. it is more of a family, so that is exciting.”

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