SPORTS

Young team takes the field

The Scripps Ranch High girl’s soccer team fields many young players and loads of talent as it enters the 2017-18 season.

Young team takes the field

The players on the Scripps Ranch High girl’s soccer team are strong, quick and fearless. They showed no hesitance to jump into the fray against a solid team from West Hills High during the season opener at Scripps Ranch on Nov. 28.

There was kicking, there was shoving and the ball boomed off the players as they blocked one another’s kicks. The Lady Falcons lost 1-3, but it was exciting to watch.

Larry Pernicano, now in his 26th year as head coach of the Scripps Ranch High girl’s soccer program, is looking forward to directing this team with many young players and loads of talent this season.

Last year the team got to the CIF playoffs but lost to La Costa Canyon. The team has been to the finals twice in the last five years.

It’s a strong program, but only 11 players have returned and there are several first-year players on varsity this year. About 100 girls tried out a few weeks ago; 65 were freshmen. Therefore, Pernicano has put together a varsity team, a JV A team and a JV B team consisting of all freshmen players, he said.

“This year, it’s going to be a very young team, probably the youngest team I’ve had in 26 years,” Pernicano said. “I have eight freshmen that made varsity. So, it’s going to be a challenge for them to step up.”

The Lady Falcons varsity soccer team has enjoyed numerous successful seasons, and Pernicano expects this to be another one. The schedule is not an easy one. It includes top Division 1 teams such as La Costa Canyon, Westview, Rancho Bernardo and Steele Canyon in non-league games. The biggest challenger on the league schedule will be the always-strong Cathedral team.

Pernicano is looking forward to coaching this team with so much potential. It won’t take the younger players long to fit in to the system, he said.

“They’re very good players and they’re all coachable,” he explained. “They do have talent. Nobody sits on varsity. … Even though we only have 11 returners, I think we’re going to have a very good team as far as strength all the way around.”

Among the returners are four captains, and Pernicano is looking forward to seeing them lead the young players in the right direction. Lauren Beall is a senior captain who plays either defense or midfield. Senior captain Kristina Leone plays either outside mid or forward. Starting goalie Marina Luttrell is a junior captain. Captain Abigail Stewart, another junior, plays midfield and forward.

The Lady Falcons employ about three main systems, and they adjust depending on their opponent, according to Pernicano.

“We usually start off with a 4-3-3 system and then we go from there,” He said. “We adjust depending on who we’re playing. We play everything on the ground that we can. Everything is a one-two touch. Speed of play with the Astro-turf is very fast, so you have to have technical players that can play with the speed of the play. And we do. We have a very quick team this year. … They read the game. They’re always looking up to see where the next play is going to be, the next touch.”

Meanwhile, the Scripps Ranch High School girl’s varsity soccer team lost a game, 1-2, to San Pasqual High in Escondido. The team is scheduled to play The Bishop’s School at 4 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 7 at Scripps Ranch High. It will travel to play West Hills High in Santee on Monday, Dec. 11 at 7:15 p.m. Then the team has two home games, one against Poway on Dec. 12 at 5 p.m. and the next against Eastlake High at 5:30 p.m. on Dec 14.

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