Defense was the name of the game for the 2019 Ventura College women's soccer team as the Pirates had their best season guarding the goal since 2008. VC allowed just 17 goals on the season, a 12-year low, and posted 10 shutouts en route to their 23rd playoff appearance in the program's 24-year history.
Leading the defensive effort was sophomore goalkeeper Aracely Castro along with second-year defenders Yadi Raigoza, Natalie Lansberg, Sammy Zanini, Aleesa Ramirez, and freshman defenders Stephany Ramirez and Ester Ruvalcaba.
Success in the classroom followed as the team posted an overall grade point average of 3.10 in the fall semester. It was the eighth straight season that the team recorded above a 3.0 GPA. 2019 was the eight seasons in a row that the team has had a 3.0 GPA or higher. Six Pirates, including Castro, Lansberg, Zanini, Isabella DeRosa, Ruvalcaba and Kassandra Arroyo received Western State Conference academic certificates for achievements in the classroom.
Sophomore defender Natalie Lansberg earned team Most Valuable Player honors. the Ventura high School product started all 22 games in 2019 on top of 21 games as a freshman in 2018. She logged 3,773 minutes for the orange and black, an average of over 87 minutes per game for two seasons. Her presence in the back was key in the Pirates' success in 2019.
"Having Natalie play for the program for the last two years has been a pleasure," said head coach Steve Hoffman. "If you look at the number of minutes she played, it tells you how important she was to the success of our team."
"I would say this season Natalie was not just our MVP on the field, but also off the field as well. She was recognized by the WSC each of her two years at Ventura College both academically and athletically."
Lansberg had applied to several UC institutions and would also like to continue her playing career upon transferring to a four-year school.
Transfer sophomore Sammy Zanini was named the Pirates' Scholar Athlete of the Year. Also a graduate of Ventura High School, Zanini started all 22 games, logging 1,831 minutes. She moved from the back line to a forward position midway through the season, scoring nine goals with two assists for 21 points while maintaining a 3.67 GPA. She earned first team All-WSC accolades on the field as well as a WSC academic certificate.
"Sammy is a great example of the type of student athlete a coach dreams of," said Hoffman. "She is an inspirational student athlete and fantastic young woman."
Zanini will continue her academic and soccer careers at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2020.
|VC Women's Soccer 2019|
|Western State Conference Finish - 3rd|
|SoCal Regional Playoffs - No. 10-seed|
|Western State Conference North Division|
|Aracely Castro - Goalie of the Year|
|All-WSC 1st Team|
|Aracely Castro, Jacky Espinosa|
|Yadi Raigoza, Sammy Zanini|
|All-WSC 2nd Team|
|Aleesa Ramirez, Stephany Ramirez|
|All-WSC Honorable Mention|
|Natalie Lansberg, Jacqueline Rivera|
|Team MVP - Natalie Lansberg|
|Team Scholar Athlete - Sammy Zanini|