Women's soccer gears up for season

The weather reflected the mood of the team – just the right amount of sunshine, coupled with a gentle breeze that teases the hair and leaves the skin feeling refreshed.

Matt Herold, assistant coach of the Santa Monica College women's soccer team, had just put the team through several drills that cultivated ball-control skills and overall physical fitness.

It is still only May, but the SMC women's soccer team is already practicing and working out in anticipation of the coming season.

The Lady Corsairs finished last season at 11-5-6, defeating Pasadena City College in the first round of the playoffs before falling short to Santiago Canyon College.

Joe Pehanich, assistant coach of the men's team, is the newly-promoted head coach of the women's team, replacing former coach Aaron Benditson who accepted a coaching position at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.

"To be honest, I want to continue with what Aaron has done, and just continue to keep Santa Monica College and its reputation as a competitive community college," he said.

Pehanich said he is very grateful for his position and is also very excited to implement his coaching strategies.

Cassidy Schweiger, a central midfielder going into her sophomore year, described the feeling around the team as "excited for the new coach."

The biggest challenge that will arise this season is having to replace talented players who have since moved on to four-year institutions, said Pehanich. He is confident, however, that the current crop of returning players have the experience and ability to realize their maximum potential, especially sophomore goalkeeper Monique Boe.

"We're expecting a big season out of her," he said. "If you want a name, I'd say our [goal] keeper."

Pehanich said he is also expecting to see recruits from the summer and fall semesters to add to the strength of the team.

Apart from the intense training schedules that the players endure, four days of practice a week during the summer, and three days during the fall, they are also required to balance a full 12 unit course load, said Susie Scribner, a sophomore centerback.

At the end of the day, amid that gentle breeze, the team rigorously completes their practices, eagerly anticipating the coming season.

"Hopefully our next few years will be as successful as the last few," said Pehanich.