It’s impossible for the Rams to duplicate the history they made last year. After winning its first Moore League since 1991, Millikan went on to win its first CIF-SS Division 1 playoff game in school history.
“Our past success has raised the bar, now it is our responsibility to continue to do that,” Millikan seventh-year coach Tino Nunez said. “The most important games will be the league games. Every point counts.”
Nunez and the Rams will rely heavily on senior captain Samy Sierra (pictured). She led Millikan with 15 goals last year.
Sierra assisted on the goal that clinched the league title, and said that her team is ready to repeat as league champions for the first time since 1985.
“We’re ambitious and we know we have a lot to prove again after winning league last year,” Sierra said. “We have a lot of new players but we’re all really focused and working hard.”
Fellow seniors Azalia Salazar and Jordyn Holly will also be team captains with Sierra. Salazar had three goals and two assists in the midfield last season. Senior returners Josie English, Alyssa Moran and Sunha Park will also play key roles for the Rams.
Nunez said that newcomers Alyssa Reyes, Danielle Paulson, Gretchen Becker and Robin Swanson are poised for breakout seasons. He also said that freshman Sydney Trump and Hannah Marshall could factor heavily in the bench rotation.
“Last year we were super close as a team,” Sierra said. “We had a really good team but it was because we worked really well together. This year we’re focusing on bonding and in order to play together really well.”
The magical Millikan campaign last season didn’t come out of nowhere. Nunez has improved the depth and quality of his program every year since taking over, and the Rams were close to winning league a few times before breaking though.
“He expects a lot,” Sierra said of Nunez. “He has high expectations in a good way, he pushes us. His demeanor is positive in a way that makes us work harder.”
Nunez, Sierra and the rest of the Rams are also excited to have junior goalkeepers Savanna Alba and Isabella Meyer back this year. Meyer made a name for herself in the playoff win when she stopped the first three shots of the penalty kick shootout to secure victory.
Come back tomorrow for the Millikan boys’ soccer preview!