PREVIEW: Lincoln girls soccer

Numbers are growing
By: Jim Linsdau, Sports Editor
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2017-18 Fighting Zebras Roster

Seniors – 5. Natalie Gonzalez, 7. Reese Zinzun, 12. Kylie Martinez, 13. Courtney Holland, 16. Kristin Stinson, 99. Victoria Nararro (GK).

Juniors – 1. Alexis Nordby, 2. Elizabeth Lopez, 3. Aliyah Aguilar, 4. Kaydie Bauser, 8. Yumi Tan, 10. Andrea Cuevas, 11. Cynthia Chavez, 14. Marin Garrett, 15. Atzin Lopez, 21. Taylor Lee, 22. Grace Morebeck, 66. Madi Nelson (GK).

Sophomores – 9. Alexis Ninojosa, 19. Madison Buell, 20. Autumn Bersch.

Freshmen – 6. Naylei Reyes.




It is a year of anticipated transition for Lincoln High School scheduled to move from the Division IV Pioneer Valley League to the Division III Foothill Valley League next season. And one of the athletic programs concerned was girls soccer, a team that finished fifth in the PVL last year with a 6-10 record.

“I was worried last year when I was told about the changes and what was going to happen,” said fourth-year Fighting Zebras head coach David Zinzun. “Now, I’m confident. Even going into a bigger league, I don’t foresee us winning it right away, but we’re going to be just fine.”

One of the reasons for Zinzun’s optimist is that he has 22 varsity players (plus two goalkeepers) out for this final season in the PVL and 26 junior varsity athletes filling the underclass ranks. Last season, Lincoln started with 16 players and finished with a baker’s dozen.

Zinzun has six seniors and 12 juniors on the squad this season and, just for good measure, brought up three sophomores and a freshman.

“We took a big hit last year, losing seniors; it made me plan ahead for this year,” Zinzun said. “So this year I picked up a couple sophomores and a freshman. We’re pretty talented and we’re going to keep a couple key players for the program.”

Zinzun said he has not only seen leadership coming out of his seniors, he is seeing it at least one junior, Andra Cuevas. Cuevas, along with Zinzun’s daughter Reese Zinzun and Kylie Martinez began playing soccer under Coach Zinzun when they were 6-7 years old.

“It’s great to see that I’m finishing with them. They still love the game and they know my expectations,” said the coach. “I have some great leaders.”

Not only does the coach have players very familiar with his system, but he is getting club players who are already playing competitive. Zinzun said having players already skilled makes it easier for him to work more on strategy and less on fundamentals.

Returning this season is goalkeeper Victoria Nav. Nav suffered a broken ankle at the beginning of soccer last year and was out for the season, but continued to come out to support her teammates.

“She was there supporting the girls from day one to the end,” said Zinzun. “She is probably one of the strongest leaders that I have on my team. I’m excited to see what she does for us.”

To prepare, Zinzun has scheduled a robust preseason by adding a couple bigger schools. He also rekindled the Highway 65 rivalry by scheduling Wheatland. As part of the Northern Section, the Pirates have been playing during the winter months for years.

As for the weather, only Mother Nature knows for sure what this year will bring. Although moving up to the FVL will mean playing more schools with artificial turf, Zunzun said Placer and Nevada Union are also moving to the new league and still play on natural turf.

But for Zinzun, whatever the surface, he feels with the growing numbers, along with the talent, will serve the Zebras well in the future.

 “I’m just excited for this coming season,” the coach said. “We’ve got a great group of girls and I’m excited for the whole program next year. The whole program looks pretty solid.”

Lincoln was scheduled to open the 2017-18 campaign at home entertaining Pioneer High School out of Woodland. They then travel to Antelope before heading home to host Wheatland Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m.

The JV team will play at 5:30 against Oroville.