Eagles set eyes on new future

Del Oro to face Oakmont today in first round of sectionals
By: Justin A. Lawson Journal Sports Writer
-A +A
LOOMIS ? The last time the Del Oro High girls soccer team reached the postseason leading scorer Lauren Gollnick wasn?t concerned about what college she would attend because she had just started elementary school. Back in 2000, when the Golden Eagles last played in the playoffs half of the Sierra Foothill League still played soccer in the winter. But Del Oro isn?t concerned about what happened 12 years ago ? or even during the regular season for that matter. To the Eagles, their 7 p.m. date today with Oakmont in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs is the start of a new season. ?We finally made it to playoffs,? said Gollnick, who will play at Division II Dominican University in San Rafael next season. ?The four years that I?ve been here we haven?t made it there so it?s an awesome accomplishment since I?m a senior too. Being able to play more, it?s always downer that you don?t have more games, but we have more games.? The playoffs were not the only long-awaited milestone for the Eagles. They won the SFL title for the first time since 1999 behind a 4-0-6 league record (7-0-7 overall), were named the school?s team of the year over the football team that reached the CIF State Division II championship and Gollnick took SFL Player of the Year honors. There?s good reason this team has been so celebrated. It starts with the defense, which didn?t allow a goal through its first six SFL games and only gave up three on the season. Offensively, the Eagles have a trio of forwards that have taken advantage of almost every opportunity they?ve had this season. Gollnick scored seven goals and was followed by juniors Kaleigh Landberg and Jordan McDaniel with five each. Del Oro finished fourth in the SFL last season with a 5-4-1 record and lost six valuable seniors, which made a trip to the postseason seem like it was at least another year away. ?I think this is a really big deal because we?re so young and it wasn?t really expected of us so we?re kind of the underdogs,? said junior Jessica Hinksen. ?It was more of a Cinderella story. I think we proved to everyone that we could do it and we did do it.? The Eagles won?t be a one-hit wonder as long they can fill Gollnick?s shoes. They have just four seniors on the roster but one of those was Miranda Bailey, who had five goals last year, missed the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Sophomore goalkeeper Taylor Ciksena showed she can defend the net when Kelly Edwards graduates after this season after the two split time much of the year. They also have two freshmen and five sophomores on the roster, including Kayla Collins who is tied for second on the team in assists with two. The sophomore also has two goals on the year. ?We?ve got a number of good soccer players that are here and a number of good soccer players that are coming in,? said Del Oro coach Ron Benjamin, who also coaches club at Placer United. ?That will be the expectation is to make the playoffs every year from here on out.?