12th ranked Bulldogs host Paris in Region XIV opener

Navarro’s soccer team re-emerged Tuesday into the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Division I Junior College poll, just ahead of its Region XIV opener here Saturday against Paris.

It’s been a fast, frantic start since July 1, but first-year coach Alicia Wilson has rolled up her sleeves and reconstructed a Bulldog soccer program that had only four sophomores returning. The new head coach and 17 newcomers are adjusting to expectations, teammates, surroundings, travel and college life in a giant blur, and they’ve weathered a brutally difficult schedule against four nationally ranked opponents.

Navarro’s won two in a row and three of its first four matches laced with a pair of shutouts. They’ve accomplished it on the road, taking the measure of 15th-ranked Cisco in the season-opener (1-0), 4th-ranked Butler in a double-overtime battle at Tyler, and also shutting out the Richland Thunderducks (4-0), who were ranked No. 2 in the Division III preseason poll. The only blemish? A 3-2 loss here to 8th ranked Laramie County.

It’s coming together at the right time for Saturday’s noon conference-opener against the Lady Dragons. PJC brings a three-match losing streak here and a 1-5 record overall, but the Bulldogs won’t be taking the Dragons lightly. Paris already stands 0-1 in league play after a 2-0 loss at home August 29 to Northeast Texas.

Navarro will be playing its first game since the double-OT win over Butler on Sunday at Tyler. In that match, Victoria Swift’s unassisted goal in the first minutes stood up until the 84th minute when Butler’s Paige Achley tied the match. NC won it at 106:36 on Guadalupe Cordova’s unassisted shot.

Leading scorers for NC include Deneisha Blackwood, who had a hat trick in shutout victory over Richland at Richardson. Tiffany Robinson accounted for both goals in the Laramie loss. Aaliyah Nolan accounted for the game-winner at Cisco against the 2014 Region V champions.  Returning sophomore Yamiles Bravo has a pair of assists.

Saturday’s match starts at noon at the campus soccer field.

NSCAA POLL / September 8
1. Eastern Florida State 3-0
2. Darton 2-0
3. Monroe College 0-1
4. Tyler 3-1
5. Pima 4-0
6. Butler 4-2
7. Peninsula 4-0
8. Iowa Central 5-0
9. Monroe Community College 3-1
10. Lewis & Clark 5-1-1
11. Iowa Western 2-1-2
12. Navarro 3-1
13. Laramie County 3-2-1
14. Southwestern Illinois 1-1
15. Johnson County 6-1
16. Paradise Valley 4-0
17. Highline 2-1-1
18. Cisco 2-1
19. CC Rhode Island 3-1
20. Harford 2-1