Four players from the Barton Community College women’s soccer team have signed letters of intent to play next season at the NCAA and NAIA levels.
The Utah duo of Bianca Barron and Olimpia Bonilla will take their talents to Division I University of Detroit Mercy, Mariana Poveda will head to Albany, New York, to play for The University of Saint Rose on the Division II level, while Millie York will take her defensive prowess to the NAIA level Georgia’s Brenau University.
Going down in Lady Cougars soccer history as one of the most skilled and prolific scorers to don a Barton uniform, Bianca Barron left her mark in multiple categories.
Despite being only 5-foot-1, Barron utilized her exceptional ability to ward off defenders especially in drawing the attention of multiple defenders.
“Barton helped me grow as a student, as well as an athlete,” Barron said. “The coaching staff has been a great inspiration on and off the field pushing me to never give up and inspiring me to continue playing and pursuing my education.”
A first team All-KJCCC and All-Region VI selection her freshman season after scoring 31 goals, Barron was a big surprise to other teams and was partnered up with another goal scorer which made it easier for her to get free and score goals.
During Barron’s sophomore season, Barron was constantly the defensive focus of opponents and despite not having a scoring partner and being marked by two or three players, Barron was still able to score 20 goals in 18 games.
Barron capped her second-team All-KJCCC and All-Region VI honors this season with the NSCAA honor signifying her place as one of the top 14 players in the West Region.
“Being away from home these past two years has been difficult but the support system of coaches, teachers, and friends helped me get through it,” said Barron. “I’m very happy I got the chance to be part of the amazing program Barton offered me.”
Earning the 2014 Barton Female Athlete of the Year, Barron ranks second all-time in goals (51), fourth in points (118) and fifth in assists (16).
In addition to her career achievements, Barron scored five goals three times in her career and recorded the sixth-best single game performance in points (11) her freshman season.
“I am looking for Bianca to be an offensive mid who can be our playmaker, but also looking for her to score goals for us,” said Detroit Mercy Head Women’s Soccer Coach Mike Lupenac. “Her creativity will give us more of an attack going forward and that much needed punch on the offensive side of the ball.”
Olimpia Bonilla was the anchor of a defensive line only surrendering 17 goals all season with five of those coming during the season’s first two games.
Nicknamed the terminator for her ability to thwart offensive attacks throughout the back line, the 5-3 Bonilla read the game very well, utilizing her speed and athleticism to challenge balls in the air and tackle hard.
Her performance earned the distinction of being named the KJCCC Defensive Player of the Year to go along with first team selection to both the All-KJCCC and All-Region VI teams.
“I really enjoyed Barton because I’ve made many good memories,” said Bonilla. “I met so many great people. One of the things I enjoyed the most was working with our coach (Head Coach Aaron Avila) as he is one of the greatest coaches I’ve ever had. I’m going to miss him so much and all my friends at Barton. I feel I made a family at Barton and I’ll definitely miss everyone.”
The Salt Lake City, Utah, native was also a strong leader with high skill level that elevated the Lady Cougars to a solid defensive team earning goalkeeper Stephanie Lomas four weekly conference goalkeeper of the week awards.
Bonilla’s performance followed a an equally solid freshman season being named second team to both the All-Conference and All-Region VI teams.
“I feel Olimpia gives us somebody who can attack out of the outside back position,” said Lupenac. “Her ability to defend and attack will allow us to create more scoring opportunities.”
Despite missing eight games her freshman season due to injury, Mariana Poveda followed her second team all-conference and all-region selection with another solid season to earn second team honors again.
The 5-2 midfielder from San Jose, Costa Rica, has been the Lady Cougars’ best midfielder for the past two years and was recognized for her dedication and work ethic in being named the 2014 Barton Most Inspirational Female Athlete.
Possessing complete knowledge of the game and the ability to distribute or shoot on all areas of the field, Poveda ranks sixth all-time on the Barton history books with 15 assists.
“Barton taught me how to be independent,” Poveda said. “It’s hard being away from my country, family, and friends. I’ve met and got to know a lot of amazing people at Barton, been part of my soccer team/family, and felt it was the best God could give me. Now I’m excited to move on and see what God has for me at Saint Rose.”
Saint Rose further solidified itself this past season as one of the nation’s top collegiate soccer programs at any level.
The Golden Knights recorded their sixth straight 20-win season, set a school record with 19 shutouts, and won their sixth Northeast-10 Conference Championship within the past seven seasons.
Advancing to their sixth consecutive NCAA Tournament Regional Championship game, Saint Rose has made eleven NCAA Tournament appearances since 2002.
“We see Mari as being a dynamic, skillful playmaker in the midfield,” said Saint Rose Head Women’s Soccer Coach Laurie Darling Gutheil. “Her refined technical abilities combined with great athleticism will enable her to make an immediate impact.”
York brought a high level of technical ability and toughness to compliment Bonilla’s speed in the backline.
Earning first-team All-KJCCC honors and second team All-Region VI honors.
“I am thrilled to have Millie join our team this fall!” said Brenau Head Coach Mike Locstampfor. “She made a great impression on the team and me when she visited – not just in how she played but just as importantly, her ability to connect with our players.”
Arriving to the States from Hove, England, the 5-5 freshman transferred to Barton after sitting out a year at Hutchinson Community College.
“I really loved my time at Barton,” said York. “I’m sad to be leaving a great coach who taught me a lot and improved me as a player more than any coach I’ve had before.”
York provided a keen soccer knowledge and toughness to the Lady Cougars defensive line that only surrendered seventeen goals all season with five coming during the season’s first two games.
York along with her defensive mates helped earn goalkeeper Stephanie Lomas four weekly conference goalkeeper of the week awards.
“Millie possesses all the qualities we look for,” said Locstampfor. “She is comfortable with the ball, can serve a long ball, is strong in the tackle and has a tremendous work ethic. In all likelihood she will see a great deal of playing time in a holding midfield role.
“We look forward to Millie joining the Golden Tiger family this fall and anticipate she will make an immediate contribution to our program.”