For the first time in its history, Avalon has a winning lady soccer team.
The Avalon High School Lady Lancers swept the Silver Division of the San Joaquin League, which coach Andrew Hobbs compared to winning the “world cup” for this excited bunch of young soccer players.
In fact, he said the city is so excited that the Mayor and Council have invited the team into the Council Chambers to officially present them with their plaque at the March 6 meeting.
“It is so exciting for the team,” said Hobbs, who is obviously proud and excited as well.
From the beginning, he said, these “girls wanted more” than just a winning season. They wanted a year-round program, so they built one, he said.
“Their success this year came at great sacrifice,” he added.
Many of the girls now workout all year long, he said. Some of them start training at 6 a.m. and most even trained during the Christmas holidays. “These girls are dedicated,” he said.
Although the girls made it to the playoffs, Hobbs said they were “outmatched” from start in their first-ever playoff match. They drew St. Bernard Catholic of Playa del Rey and was down 5-0 in the first half.
Added to their woes was the fact that “they were beat up from a long season.”
Yet, the ladies were down but not out. Again, said Hobbs, “this team wanted more.”
Following a spirited halftime revival, the girls came back, shut down St. Bernard and “ended on a very high note.
Although they lost the match to St. Bernard, the team won their own confidence back and were completely satisfied with winning their district championship. “They are very thankful.”
“Avalon is really small,” said Hobbs, especially compared to other major schools they are forced to compete against.
So then, it may be difficult for someone outside of Avalon to understand the enormity of what this team has accomplished, he said.
The Lady Lancers finished 11-7-1 to capture the Silver Division championship.
From the beginning, it was a Cinderella season. The girls began the season without a goal keeper so how can you win at soccer without someone tending the goal, right?
Briana Peguero expressed interest in learning. Hobbs recruited a city code enforcement officer, Miguel Bonilla, to come out of soccer retirement and teach her how to play goalie. Bonilla, who coached and played years, agreed.
Bonilla spent “hours and hours and hours” with Peguero, teaching her when to charge, when to protect, etc. Slowly, she got the hang of it. The Lady Lancers finally had a goalie.
“This is one of the greatest stories of our season,” says Hobbs, adding that Bonilla’s dedication Peguero’s courage underpinned the team’s overall success.
Three of the five Lady Lancer Captains, Stephanie Martinez, Grace Hobbs, and Alexa Bravo, each contributed 25 goals for a whopping 75 goals scored for the season between them, said Hobbs.
Yet in the end, he said every player on the team contributed to a remarkable season that made history for theCity of Avalon.
The sacrifices of the team that wanted more paid off for the Lady Lancers, not only did they win their division, but also succeeded in forming the “Lady Lancers Soccer Club,” which has become a year-round training and conditional program for the varsity team.
With the Lady Lancer’s championship, Islanders are excited that a new banner will hang in the gym.
“Banners have been hanging since the 1950s,” said Hobbs, “this will be the first soccer banner ever to hang.”
“Most these girls are freshmen,” said Hobbs, “so they will be back, and likely, want even more.”