Soccer team retools for new season

Jessica C. Millman

The Bakersfield College soccer program is starting its new season with four returning players and a new focus as a team.

“We’re able to be more as a team (compared to last year),” said returning forward Jenna Villacana. “The team is not cliquey.”

Villacana joins midfielder Keri Bess, who earned all-conference honors last year, captains Jennifer Rooney, center midfielder, and defender Erica Rine, as the only returning players.

“They have physically more speed, but more inexperience, because there are so many new players, learning roles, positions and new stuff,” said coach Scott Dameron, who returns for a second year as head coach.

His goals for this year include rebuilding the program and carrying on the traditions of the team, as well as making their own.

Prior to BC, Dameron was head soccer coach at Vanguard University for seven years. He said this year’s team works hard.

“They are a good group, working hard. They have a good attitude and a willingness to make themselves better,” Dameron said. “That’s all you can ask as a coach.”

The teams split two games at its first tournament, Sept. 1 and 2 at Oxnard. BC’s head-to-head match saw the Renegades handily defeat Victor Valley 2-0. Rooney and Bess both scored goals in the game.

In its first home game today at the soccer field north of Gerry Collis Field, the team takes on Ventura, which beat BC last year to end the Renegades’ 10-game winning streak.

“It will give us a chance to show how we play as team,” said Rooney, who was first team all-conference last year. “We want to do good here.”

College of the Canyons won the Southern division of the Western State Conference last year. BC finished seventh in the same division.

“I try not to pay too much attention to (last year),” Dameron said. “This is a totally different year. The people makeup of the team is different. People are getting a better understanding of their job with the team.”

Dameron said all the teams in the division have stepped up and that this year will not yield any easy wins.

“Ventura is the first home game, and will be one of the toughest games of the year,” he said. “The L.A. Pierce is a new program, and they should be strong too.”

“It is just a matter of putting it together,” Rooney said. “We have a fun team and a lot of new players.”

Dameron said that his captains are ready for the season. Rooney is “really tough and controls the game” while Rine has “really increased intensity as a sophomore, she is more focused, and wants to be a leader,” he said.

“The girls are still getting used to how I do things as a program,” he said. “This year’s team has a lot to set their sights toward.”