Soccer Practice

13th-ranked soccer team played exhibition at Lamar

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Wednesday was the first measuring stick for the Navarro Bulldogs’ women’s soccer team.

The Bulldogs played their first exhibition match Wednesday night against Lamar University at Beaumont, hours after learning that they had been ranked as the NJCAA’s No. 13 team in the Division I preseason poll.

Coach Debbie Bonner’s Bulldogs met the Cardinals at the Lamar Soccer Complex, and tangled with a team returning 15 letterwinners and nine starters from an 11-9-1 squad that finished second in the Southland Conference in 2012.  Second-year coach Orlando Cervantes’ squad also is picked by league coaches to finish second behind Stephen F. Austin State University in 2013.

The exhibition was nothing more than a starting point for both clubs.  The Bulldogs are continuing to prepare for the meaningful season opener against Barton County Community College, Ks., August 31 at the Tyler Invitational.

Navarro is coming off a 17-3-2 season and a ninth-place position in the final NJCAA poll — just one match victory from a berth at the national tournament.  Judging by their seven Top 15 finishes during the last nine years, the Bulldogs are more about finishing points and making their goals a reality.

NC’s rigorous 2013 schedule is littered with formidable, ranked opponents.  The Bulldogs play home-and-home matches against Richland College — the No. 4 ranked team in NJCAA Division III.  Also, they will draw matches against No. 7 Laramie County Community College, Wyo., on September 1 at Tyler; No. 6 ranked Monroe Community College, NY, in tournament play at Rochester in October; and a minimum of 2 games against Region XIV nemesis Tyler Junior College.

Here is the NJCAA’s Division I Preseason Soccer Poll, released on Wednesday, August 14:

Pos., Team (2012 Record)

1. Paradise Valley CC, Az., (22-0-2)

2. Eastern Florida State  (15-2-0)

3. Iowa Western CC (19-1-2)

4. Tyler (18-3-2)

5. Butler (23-3-0)

6. Monroe CC (18-2)

7. Laramie County (14-4-0)

8. Darton State (14-6-0)

9. St. Louis CC (16-4-1)

10. Louisburg College (13-8-0)

11. Muskegon CC (8-6-1)

12. College of Lake County (16-3-1)

13. Navarro College (17-3-2)

14. Pearl River CC (12-3-0)

15. Monroe College (12-1-0)

16. Hutchinson CC (16-2-0)

17. Scottsdale CC (14-3-1)

18. Iowa Central (15-3-0)

19. Heartland CC (13-3-2)

20. CC Baltimore County-Essex (8-7-2)