With the spring athletics in the rearview mirror, Valley’s fall sports looks to have a great season ahead.
By Vicente Vitela, Staff Writer
Valley College’s athletic programs are looking to make this season the year of the Monarch while bringing back some hardware to the campus.
Kicking things off for Valley will be the Lady Monarch’s soccer team who are looking to build off their first playoff appearance in two years. Head Coach Greg Venger will be returning at the helm and will be in the second year of transitioning back from the softball diamond to the soccer field.
“With a smaller roster, we want to stay healthy and find ways to win games, and make the playoffs again,” said Venger when asked about some of the goals he hopes to reach by the end of the season.
On a 16 women roster, there will be only six returnees from last year’s playoff roster, making for a young team. The squad should see the benefits of a favorable schedule as they will play five of six consecutive games at home, where they finished with an 8-4 last season.
Some key matchups to watch for are the two matches against C.O.C. as these two teams did not face each other last season, and the two games against Antelope Valley College, a team the Monarchs defeated 1-0 early last season. The Lady Monarch’s season is already off and running and sit at a 1-2 record but look to turn things around at home.
“Stay healthy and buy into the system,” said Venger when talking about what it will take to reach the playoffs and make a deep run.
The most successful sports program in the college’s history is the men’s water polo team, which will look to dethrone Golden West as the number one team in California. Head coach Jim McMillan has a plan to do just that.
“Our first goal is to get better, work hard, and play the best we can,” said McMillan.
Last year’s team finished second in state and was ranked team in California. This year’s team will consist of seven sophomore players who are looking to add a seventh Western State Conference championship to the program. Two key matchups to watch come at the beginning and end of the season in the form of a tournament hosted by Golden West in early September and one in late October.
“We would like to make it to the conference game, and it’s going to take all 18 players and two coaches to do their job to get there,” said McMillan.
The Monarchs Football program will go through yet again another change at the head coaching position as Lester Towns III will look to steer this team in the right direction and return it to its winning ways. Last years team finished with a 7-3 record and went 5-1 in conference play; however, they finished as the number two scoring offense in California a bright spot on what was an underwhelming season.
Towns, a former NFL linebacker, brings experience and a Super Bowl ring — which he got in 2003 playing for the Carolina Panthers — to campus. After an explosive offensive team last season, this year’s fans can expect improvement on the defensive side of the ball. The 2019 roster will consist of 28 freshmen which may prove beneficial to a new head coach which is looking to implement a new system and reestablish itself as a powerhouse football program.
Last but not least, the Lady Monarchs water polo team, which will be returning more than half of its players, will look to improve on its 16-10 record from last season. This year’s team will be battle tested come playoff time as they will be competing in five tournaments this season. After being bounced out early from last season’s playoffs, head coach Pete Loporchio will look to return the team to its winning ways and 2019 might just be the year that he does it.