When it comes to expansion teams, Western Nevada Community College women's soccer coach Hillary Arthur wants to be more like the Arizona Diamondbacks than the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Tampa Bay lost its first 26 games when it started out as a franchise while Arizona won the World Series in its first year of existence. Much like the Diamondbacks were able to do - and the Buccaneers weren't allowed to do - Arthur believes she has been able to recruit enough talent to be competitive right away.
The Wildcats will find out how competitive they will be when they open their inaugural season this weekend at the Interstate Tournament in Eureka, Calif. WNCC will open with Mendocino at 5 p.m. Saturday and will play host Redwoods at 1:30 p.m. Sunday. "We can't wait for our opening game this weekend," Arthur said.
WNCC will compete in the Scenic West Conference against teams from Utah, Colorado and Idaho.
"I want us to do well," Arthur said. "Because of the talent and the closeness and the commitment to success I expect us to be in the top three of the conference."
That's a lofty goal considering how challenging the Scenic West is. "It is a strong conference," Arthur said. "We're excited to be a part of it. I still have high expectations."
Arthur comes from Chico State where she was an assistant coach and said she's running the WNCC program like a four-year program. She also said her team is already beginning to meet her expecations.
WNCC will open at home in its Labor Day Classic a week from today when it hosts Feather River of Quincy, Calif., at 4 p.m. at Edmonds Park. The Wildcats will play all their games this season at Edmonds as an on-campus facility is still being developed.
The Wildcats will receive an indication of where they stand when they will host Scenic West foe Northern Idaho at 1 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3 in the Labor Day Classic. Northern Idaho is one of the Scenic West's traditional powers.
The team to beat in the Scenic West is expected to be Dixie State, Utah, which normally competes for the national title every year. In order for WNCC to advance to the National Junior Collegiate Athletic Association playoffs, it would have to at least place in the top two in the conference to possibly receive an at-large berth.
Arthur said the community has been extremely supportive, noting the cooperation the team has received from the city's parks and recreation department and the American Youth Soccer Organization. The team also held a youth clinic on Sunday, which Arthur said was quite successful.
WNCC will go with 15 players this season, but may have 16 if Dayton's Kristel Thompson can return from ACL surgery. Thompson has been practicing with the team, but it's unknown if and when she'll be able to play. All 15 players should see plenty of action in virtually every game.
The team also has a strong local connection, with the majority of players coming from Northern Nevada. But the team is young as it has only one player with college experience. The team watched a scrimmage between Chico State and the University of Nevada last week.
"They realized how physical college ball is going to be," said Arthur about the team after watching the scrimmage.
Another goal of Arthur's is to make sure that every player in the program moves on to a four-year program. Here's a look at the team:
Melissa Dacchio, defender: Dacchio transferred from Feather River where she played last year and the sophomore is the only player on the team with college experience.
"She brings a lot of knowledge to the game that the girls aren't aware of because the girls haven't played college soccer," Arthur said. "She does a good job of being patient and letting the attacker make a mistake. She knows when to go to the ball and when to delay."
Jessica Maule, Douglas High, midfield and defense: "She has great vision on the field and is very smart defensively," Arthur said.
Savannah Gray, Douglas, forward: "She's very quick and deceptive with the ball," Arthur said.
Dominique Gloude, defender, Silverado: "She's the anchor of our defense," Arthur said. "She's also one of our captains. She does a great job of organizing our defense. She can see the field very well."
Hannah Lee, midfielder, North Valleys: "She works 110 percent 100 percent of the time," Arthur said. "Her work ethic is just incredible."
Demi Vega, Palo Verde, midfielder: "She's very quick with the ball and has a reall good cross into the middle," Arthur said.
Melissa Goldfin, midfielder, North Valleys: "She has a great touch on the ball, very controlled," Arthur said. Arthur said Goldfin works just as hard on defense as she does on offense.
Courtney Hayes, Carson High, midfielder: "She has a great touch on the ball," Arthur said. "Her long ball accuracy is always right on target. She'll definitely be an offensive threat for scoring outside the 18 (yards)."
Kristan Hale, Carson High: "She's very versatile," Arthur said. "She'll be whereever wew need her. Her intensity on the field is infectious."
Rachelle Goulet, Silverado, goalie: "She's a great director in the back," Arthur said. "Her presence in the goal is definitely one to be reckoned with."
Jessica Laca, midfielder, Fallon: "She'll be another versatile player," Arthur said.
Chrissy Katzorke, Carson, forward and midfielder: "I expect her to be one of our leaders," said Arthur about Katzorke, who's recovering from a pulled hamstring. "She's very quick with the ball."
Lisa Berryman, North Valleys, goalie: "She has great energy, works hard all the time," Arthur said.
Sabrina Cantrell, midfielder, Dayton: "We expect to see a lot of offense down the right side from her," said Arthur about Cantrell, who holds the Dayton scoring record.
Phalon Mauntel, forward, Silverado: An aggressive player who should be one of the team's top breakaway threats, Arthur said.
Notes: The coaches of the Mendocino and Redwoods teams both served as assistants for the men's team at Humboldt State while Arthur was a player there.