Wolf Pack Soccer set to begin season

Published: Aug. 16, 2023 at 1:02 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - There’s a buzz at Wolf Pack soccer practice. It’s an energy the players can feel, and at the root of it all is first year head coach Vanessa Valentine.

“She brought that hope back in us that we were all missing,” said midfielder Luz Arreaga. “We have talented players. We have hard workers, you name it. We just needed hope.”

The ladies are looking for their first winning season since 2006. After nearly two decades of less than ideal results, and not a lot of scoring, Valentine hopes a new approach leads to better outcomes.

“Within my style and my possession-based formations and getting our outside backs more on the attack we’re going to use more weapons that truly haven’t been utilized in the past in hopes of drawing out the opposition to then get behind and score some more goals,” she said.

Scoring is a priority, but without Kendal Stovall in goal, the team’s keeper the last five seasons, where will the Pack turn for help in net? The team is being quiet about that topic. All three rostered keepers have a shot.

“They’ve been working super hard to fill in that role,” Arreaga said of the starting goalkeeper spot. “They’ve done a pretty good job of it. They’ve had high energy every single morning to get after it.”

Given past performances, Nevada was picked to finish last in the preseason poll. That’s fine for Valentine.

“The only time they’re going to think about us is when we’re in that final of the Mountain West Conference Tournament,” she said. “Pick us last. Don’t plan for us at all. I like that. Let’s go.”

The Silver and Blue gets a tough test right away at #5 Virginia Thursday. The team’s first match at Mackay Stadium in Reno is set for September 3.