Veteran Camp Verde girls soccer eyes run to playoffs

Camp Verde girls soccer players work on dribbling on Tuesday at practice. The Cowboys return 10 of 11 starters from last year’s side. (VVN/James Kelley)

Camp Verde girls soccer players work on dribbling on Tuesday at practice. The Cowboys return 10 of 11 starters from last year’s side. (VVN/James Kelley)

Camp Verde High girls soccer is loaded with returnees and ready for a deep run this season.

The Cowboys return nearly every starter from last year’s 8-9 squad.

“We have 10 returners from the starting line up so that is a big help,” said Camp Verde head coach Javier Pineda. “You have just one starter that you lost and the rest are good.”

Pineda said Camp Verde’s preseason preparations have gone well.

They began the season with a 2-0 scrimmage loss to Show Low. Their first game, was Thursday at Holbrook but the result was unavailable at press time.

The Cowboys’ first home game is on Saturday at 1 p.m. against St. Johns.

“We’re doing good, we just need to work on some of the little things here and there so hopefully we’ll do a lot better (laughs),” Pineda said.

Pineda said the Cowboys’ goalkeeping has been “awesome.”

On defense Camp Verde is integrating freshmen defenders into the team.

“One was sick but we have some coming up so we won’t be hurting on the defense,” Pineda said. “So it will be good, it will be interesting to see how the freshmen step up to it.”

The Cowboys have five home games this season. They play in two regular season tournaments, the Show Low Invitational Sept. 15th and the Old Pueblo Soccer Classic in Tucson, Sept. 29 and 30th.

Pineda said the CV midfielders have done well but he has one concern about them.

“Midfielders have been doing pretty good we have the same from last year,” Pineda said. “They just need to kinda talk to each other more, more talking.”

Up top the Cowboys are adding in freshmen forwards.

“We’re working a little more on them right now because one of them is new to position, she didn’t play that much in there so we have quite a bit now, so it’s a lot better this year,” Pineda said.

Camp Verde’s schedule features defending state champion Chino Valley, who they host on Oct. 3 and face on the road on Oct. 19 plus a number of other tough foes.

Pineda said he is glad the schedule is difficult.

“It’s good, that’s what we want,” Pineda said. “If you want to get better you gotta play with the top teams and in our area we have the two top teams in the state. I don’t mind, I’d rather play the toughest teams, that way it makes you tougher, it makes you better and that way you can see what you need to work on because it doesn’t do any good playing a team and beating them 7, 8-0.”

Pineda thinks the Cowboys can compete with Chino Valley for the top spot in the region if they work hard and make the playoffs.

Last season they finish in third in the 2A Central behind Chino Valley and Northland Prep who went on to the four-team playoffs. The Cowboys were 6-4 in the conference and 4-4 in the region in 2016.

“I hope we do good, we want to be in the top four,” Pineda said. “Hopefully this year we can get to at least second place, beat some of the top teams. We can get close to them if we work hard we can do it. There’s no doubt that we have a really good team this year.”

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