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UHV hopes to go deep in playoffs (VIDEO)

Keldy  Ortiz

By Keldy Ortiz
Aug. 22, 2013 at 3:22 a.m.

The team lines up to run sprints in pairs as the sun rises at the University of Houston Victoria women's soccer practice Thursday morning in Victoria.

The UHV women soccer team's expectations for the upcoming season aren't low.

Even with a 7-11 record last season, the Jaguars played in their first Association of Independent Institutions Conference tournament. They lost to California State-San Marcos, but the Jaguars have much to look forward to this season.

With transfer players arriving on the team, the Jaguars hope to win their second conference tournament.

"The ladies found out what it takes to get to that level and stay at that level," fourth-year coach Adrian Rigby said. "Last year was a good confidence builder."

Playing in California against California State-San Marcos helped the team realize they can play as a unit, Rigby said. The Jaguars lost in a close game 2-0.

Hoping to do better this season is senior Vanessa Plasencia. With a team comprised of 12 freshmen, Plasencia doesn't mind the new faces.

"The freshmen this year are bringing a lot of energy," Plasencia said. "Every year, I'm always looking forward to putting together a good team and being more successful than last year."

Rigby said having first-year girls on the team doesn't make a difference. He wants to see what the players bring to the table.

"My philosophy is it doesn't really matter what class a player is in," Rigby said. "The best players play. That's why we practice four or five times a week. It gives them an opportunity to rise to the challenge."

Freshman Haley Hicks looks forward to the opportunity to contribute to the team. The Mesquite native believes the new faces can be an asset to the team.

"We all have a lot of talent," Hicks said. "We have just as much experience, just not at this school. We've been working together for the two-a-days."

The Jaguars hope to have vastly improve over last season when they were shutout in seven games. In 2012, against opponents, the Jaguars were outscored 19 to 33.

The road back to the playoffs begins Saturday for the squad. When they made the playoffs, the Jaguars won three of their last seven games.

But with a deeper team than last season, Rigby sees the girls having a better finish.

"The girls have slowly been building," Rigby said. "... and on Saturday, we're looking to start off on the right foot with a win against the University of Southwest."



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