Inaugural athletic programs at Otero Junior College have begun to set a standard; they have winning seasons. The college’s most recent athletic program, women’s soccer, took Region IX by storm over the past few weeks, amassing a conference record of 9-1-0; an overall record of 15-2-0 and a conference championship.
When OJC hired Donny Ribaudo, from California State University, Chico, as their new women’s soccer coach this past January, he started the women’s soccer program from the ground up; determined to put together a competitive team from the beginning. The Lady Rattlers arrived on campus in August, and it was soon apparent that this was a group of players who could come together quickly as a team.
The team started intense training from day one and their first road trip showed their hard work paying off. The Rattlers beat Barton College and Northwest Tech, scoring a total of 11 goals in two games. From there they continued to find success as they beat every NJCAA team they played this season at least once, as well as earned a 2-1 win against Division II CSU- Pueblo in a scrimmage.
The Rattlers were ranked in the top 25 in the nation throughout the season and finished 10th overall. The Rattlers finished first in their conference with a conference record of 9-1-0 and an overall record of 15-2-0. The team scored a total of 64 goals and only had only 10 goals scored on them while playing against NJCAA competitors. At the Region IX tournament this past week, the Lady Rattlers won against Western Wyoming in the semi-final, but lost to Laramie County Community College in the championship game.
During the season, several players received college, regional and national recognition for their level of play. Otero’s goalie, Sam McCurley, Centennial, was named National Player of the Week during the 2012 season; she had nine shutouts throughout the season and only six goals scored against her.
Named as OJC Players of the Week over the season were: Jenna Liverpool, England; Amanda Garcia, Pueblo, Sam McCurley, Centennial, and Brittney Lacek, Gillette, Wyo.
Named to the Region IX 1st Team Defensive Players roster were Katie Lovejoy, Fremont, Calif. and Mahryssa Robertson, Thornton. Named to the Region IX 1st Team Midfielders roster were Tori Slattery Phoenix, Ariz. and Kat Waugh, Colorado Springs. Brittney Lacek, Gillett, Wyo. was named 2nd Team Region IX Midfielders of the Year and Jenna Liverpool, England, as named 2nd team Region IX Forward of the Year.
Coach Ribaudo is already looking at the 2013-2014 season with high expectations.
“With a solid group of returning players, Otero Women’s Soccer will have even higher expectations for our second season,” said Ribaudo. “This past season has set a good foundation for the program and the Rattlers look forward to continuing to find success in the upcoming years.”
“I want to thank my assistant coach Amanda McMullan, all the students and community fans for helping make this a great season. Everyone at Otero Junior College has been very supportive throughout the season and we really appreciated that,” said Ribaudo. “It was great having the president, vice presidents and other faculty members at the championship game to cheer the Rattlers on,” he said.
The Otero Women’s Soccer Team will be hosting a Girl’s Winter Soccer Clinic on Saturday, February 16, 2013 at the Tiger Stadium in La Junta. The Winter Soccer Clinic will provide college-level training to improve each player through specific skill instruction, small sided games and 11 vs. 11 game play. More information and a registration flyer can be found at the following link: www.ojc.edu/wSoccer.aspx.
The OJC Women’s Soccer program will host a youth soccer camp during the summer of 2013; more details will be released later in the year.