The 2017 PCHS Soccer Camp top row (left to right), Coach Fuller, McKenna Hertz, Tavis Hunt, Connie Kersnowski, Kylee Fuller, Ashlyn Lusby, Loryn Hunt, Kyle’ Tupa, Haylee Leavitt and coach Eva Matusyzk. Bottom row (left to right), Karyme Hernandez, Lupe Parades, Lizzy Rosas, Ana Parades, Alyssa Montes, Baylee Lovett, Kaylen Castro and Cassidy Burke
The 2017 PCHS Soccer Camp top row (left to right), Coach Fuller, McKenna Hertz, Tavis Hunt, Connie Kersnowski, Kylee Fuller, Ashlyn Lusby, Loryn Hunt, Kyle’ Tupa, Haylee Leavitt and coach Eva Matusyzk. Bottom row (left to right), Karyme Hernandez, Lupe Parades, Lizzy Rosas, Ana Parades, Alyssa Montes, Baylee Lovett, Kaylen Castro and Cassidy Burke
In soccer, stamina is everything. Matches last for eighty minutes regardless of cold, heat, rain, wind, or mud. That’s why the soccer team jogs 4-5 miles every morning, sometimes uphill or through sand. And that’s why they attended a two-day camp at PCHS this past Friday and Saturday.

Last year the squad said goodbye to six seniors who played under every condition Mother Nature could throw at them. Mikayla Renfroe, Anna Vidales, Mireya Covarrubias, Lillian Weatherman, Alexis Lusby, and Maddy Gonzalez graduated with the PCHS Class of 2016.

In 2016, Pershing played 21 games, scored 52 goals, and competed in the regional playoffs as the third seed. They ended the year ranked 11-10-1 overall and 7-6-1 in league play.

The loss of half a dozen veteran soccer players may prove challenging to the Lady Mustangs.

The close-knit team misses the recent grads. However over a dozen players have come back for another season of the sport they love. Senior Loryn Hunt co-captains the squad with Makenna Hertz, a junior. Leticia Sutherland, also a senior, manages the team. Karyme Hernandez completes the senior lineup.

Other returning players include Ashlyn Lusby, Lupe Parades and Rachel Steel, all juniors. The sophomore roster bursts with Cassidy Burke, Lizzy Rosas, Alyssa Montes, Ana Parades, Baylee Lovett, Kyle’ Tupa, Kaelyn Castro, and Haylie Leavitt.

The newest additions to the team are freshmen Michelle Davis and Connie Kersnowski. Two PCMS students also attended the soccer camp — Tavis Hunt and Kylee Fuller.

Coach Matt Fuller stands at the brink of his ninth season coaching the team. Eva Matuszyk assists.

The Lady Mustangs had high hopes when they faced South Tahoe in round one of the 2016 NIAA regionals. It had been five seasons since their last crack at a zone championship. But South Tahoe came out on top (8-1) and sent Lovelock packing. The coaches think they know one reason why.

There is a key to a winning soccer season, they decided. That fundamental skill is dribbling.

“This year we will take our weakness and make it a strength,” said coach Fuller. Eva Matusyzk agreed.

“South Tahoe was our toughest team last year,” she explained. “They did extremely well with crossing the ball across the field and being ready to take shots, so we are looking to improve our dribbling under pressure, crossing the ball to open the field and trapping.”

Saturday morning’s camp emphasized dribbling.

“Don’t look down,” Fuller told the girls as they completed a drill. “You’ll miss something.”

To drive his point home, he raised his hand while the girls dribbled away.

“How many fingers am I holding up?” he asked.

The players need to maintain awareness of the field, he said. They must see holes in defenses, open teammates, and scoring positions.

On Aug. 25-26 the Lady Mustangs travel to Spring Creek for the Spring Creek tournament. Fuller explained that he sees the tourney as a learning experience.

“I’m not that concerned about preseason wins or losses. I’m all about seeing what these guys can do; how they work together,” he said. “Maybe we’ll try out a new formation, for example.”

The squad will play five games and come home late Saturday night.

“It’s a grueling schedule,” said the coach.

On Friday, Sept. 8, Pershing County travels to Whittell. On Saturday, Sept. 9, they head to Yerington.

Beginning Sept. 15, the girls play five consecutive home games. Pershing hosts West Wendover at 3 p.m. The next day they greet White Pine at 10 a.m. Then they’ll play Fernley (Sept. 22), Dayton (Sept. 23) and Battle Mountain (Sept. 30) before a stretch of road games.

“I’m excited about this season,” said Matuszyk. “We have great girls, positive energy, and ambition to do well and have fun.”