Barton Community College head women’s soccer coach Shawn Uhlenhake is facing several challenges in his first season at the reins of the team.
The first challenge is the transitional phase, where the coach and his players get used to the changes, a phase that Uhlenhake said was not a problem with this team.
“I’ve transitioned and taken over teams before,” Uhlenhake said. “Their attitude has been very accepting and I haven’t had any resistance, so we’ve just kind of hit the ground running. That’s been the best part about it so far.”
The second challenge is filling out a team that is returning seven players from last season.
One of the biggest losses for the Lady Cougars was starting goalkeeper Corey LaMoureaux. She played in 18 games last season for Barton, allowing 11 goals and making 87 saves.
The Lady Cougars have two athletes competing for the starting role in goal — Taylor Patzner and Brittany Hughes.
Hughes, a player from Hoisington, has no experience in goal, but is learning quickly.
“She actually played volleyball last year,” Uhlenhake said of Hughes. “She tried out, and she’s a good athlete. That goes a long way as a goalkeeper.”
Patzner was the goalkeeper for Hays High School in the spring. Hays beat Great Bend in the first round of the regional tournament 1-0 before losing in the next round to Bishop Carroll of Wichita 8-0.
“She’s a freshman, too,” Uhlenhake said of Patzner. “That’s going to be a position that we will be very young at and somewhat inexperienced at, so that is something we’ve been spending a lot of time with.
“We’ve been getting a lot of shots on them and working them out as much as possible.”
The seven returning players combined for three assists and two goals last season. The Lady Cougars’ top-2 goal-scorers were Danielle Saucedo (28) and Shala Giardini (16). Both are gone now.
Uhlenhake is looking to new talent and some sophomore leadership to help the team continue its winning ways, which resulted in a 14-7 overall record, including a 10-3 record in the NJCAA Region VI.
The Lady Cougars finished in fourth place in the region.
One sophomore Uhlenhake said he wants to see step up as a leader is 2010 Great Bend High School graduate Gabriela Moreno.
“Gabriela has been doing really well,” Uhlenhake said. “She’s an upbeat type of girl. She brings that to all of the training sessions and that’s been good (for the freshmen). All of the freshmen here are still going through their home-sickness phase.
“It is nice to have someone who is upbeat about training, and I think that she is one of those good local girls to have around.”
The Lady Cougars’ first game of the season is Saturday, Aug. 27, against Cisco College, out of Abilene, Texas, at the Barton soccer field.
Barton Community College
women’s soccer team
Aug. 27 — CISCO, noon
Aug. 28 — NORTHWEST COLLEGE, noon
Aug. 30 — HESSTON, 2 p.m.
Sept. 6 — at Maple Woods (Kansas City, Mo.), 2 p.m.
Sept. 8 — COFFEYVILLE, 2 p.m.
Sept. 14 — NEOSHO COUNTY, 2 p.m.
Sept. 17 — at Johnson County, 1 p.m.
Sept. 20 — at Cloud County, 2 p.m.
Sept. 24 — at Hutchinson, 2 p.m.
Sept. 28 — at Dodge City, 5 p.m.
Oct. 2 — PRATT, 2 p.m.
Oct. 4 — at Cowley College, 5 p.m.
Oct. 8 — INDEPENDENCE, 2 p.m.
Oct. 11 — NORTHERN OKLAHOMA, 2 p.m.
Oct. 12 — ALLEN COUNTY, 2 p.m.
Oct. 14 — BUTLER, 4 p.m.
Oct. 19 — at Garden City, 5 p.m.
HOME GAMES IN ALL CAPS
Midfielder Jennifer Allende, 5-3, freshman; Midfielder Bailey Avery, 5-2, sophomore; Midfielder Jordan Gallacher, 5-5, sophomore; Forward Courtney Galliher, 5-6, freshman; Defender Haley Gerleman, 5-5, sophomore; Forward Catalina Gutierrez, 5-3, freshman; Goalkeeper Brittany Hughes, 5-8, sophomore; Midfielder Kaylee Kershner, 5-6, freshman; Midfielder Monica McCarthy, 5-2, sophomore; Midfielder Gabriela Moreno, 5-2, sophomore; Midfielder Alicia Nicholson, 5-4, freshman; Goalkeeper Taylor Patzner, 5-11, freshman; Forward Deedra Richard, 5-4, sophomore; Forward Jessica Rosenberg, 5-3, freshman; Defender Erika Smith, 5-2, sophomore; Defender/Midfielder Rachel Ukena, 5-6, sophomore.