Hill College men’s and women’s soccer teams kick off 2021 season

  Jessyca Brown
  Monday, April 5, 2021 11:50 AM

Hillsboro, TX

The Hill College men’s and women’s soccer teams are ready to pick up where they left off in 2019, finishing 11-5 and 15-3-1, respectively.

Paul Davenport, head coach for both teams, said not being able to play games consistently due to COVID-19 was challenging, so he and his teams are looking forward to competing again.

“It can potentially cause a stalemate in training and a grind mentally to maintain focus from day to day with no game to play for,” said Davenport. “However, now we finally get to start the season, and the mentality can be more consistent with positives to keep everyone engaged.”

The limited season will pose additional challenges, as both teams will play opponents multiple times.

“The familiarity with each opponent and vice versa will be a challenge to see who can be consistent game-in and game-out against the same opposition,” Davenport said. “We believe in our style of play and the fluidity within it will allow us to adapt to each game and overcome the adversity of consistently facing the same opposition.”

On the men’s team, Davenport expects sophomore midfielders Koki Kamizono from Japan and Arturo Barrera from Duncanville to do well.

“Koki has been a great addition to the squad and his consistent performances in the preseason should transpire to goals,” he said. “Arturo, returning sophomore and team captain, continues to lead the team from last year with his consistent high-level performances.”

The women’s team is one for opponents to watch this season after making an appearance in the 2019 national tournament.

“Last year was a great success and this year will be even more challenging as the target on the team continues to grow,” said Davenport. “The road to nationals is even more difficult with a district playoff realignment forcing the women to potentially beat two top five ranked teams this year.”

But with standouts like returning sophomore midfielder and 1st Team All-American Risa Yamada from Japan and sophomore forward Fernanda Pena from Colombia, the women’s team may have a chance to stand on the national playoff field again.

“Risa may surprise people as her goal tally increases from last year,” said Davenport. “In addition, Fernanda had a very impressive preseason and could be a huge contributor with goals and assists.”

Both teams will host their first home games in early May. Home games will likely be played at Cleburne High School. To view both teams’ schedules and rosters, visit https://www.hillcollege.edu/Athletics/.

“This season will be nice to just resume some normalcy with students getting the opportunity to do what they love and play the game that they came to school for,” said Davenport. “Everyone has endured personal hardships and the season can help alleviate some of that stress in a positive way. I hope both teams enjoy the season, and use it to express themselves and make some new positive memories.”

The college and both teams are prepared for schedule changes and modifications given the current environment. Fans are encouraged to check the college athletics Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/HillCollegeAthletics and the athletics website at https://www.hillcollege.edu/Athletics/ for updates.