HIALEAH, FL – With each passing week, the ASA College-Miami women’s soccer team is making history.
So far this season, the Lady Silver Storm have either broken previous program marks or set new program records in total shots, shots per game, consecutive wins, goals, goal-margin, assists, and goals allowed.
Of all the marks, the one that ASA Miami (7-0-1) is focused on the most is a zero in the loss column.
Keeping its record blemish-free will be tough this week as ASA Miami will be traveling to Daytona Beach, Florida to take on Daytona State College Tuesday at the Daytona State Soccer Stadium at 7 p.m.
While Silver Storm second-year head coach David Luna is definitely pleased with his team’s success up to this point, he kept his optimism in check with the reality of the high level of competition in NJCAA Division-I Region VIII.
“We’re going into conference play now…we’re starting to play the heavy-hitters,” Luna said.
“We play in the toughest conference in the country. We have to stay focused and play one game at a time though. We have to keep doing everything that we do right. We’re looking to stay undefeated – trying to go 8-0-1.”
Daytona State (6-1) definitely represents ASA’s toughest opponent up to this point in the season. The Lady Falcons were ranked No. 4 in the September 5th NJCAA composite soccer rankings but fell out of the top 20 the following week after a 3-2 home loss to Monroe College.
Since then, Daytona State has won a pair of games by a combined score of 13-2.
Even though the Falcons don’t have a ranking next to their name, Luna isn’t taking them lightly.
“They are super athletic and they’re very dangerous,” Luna began.
“They run their midfield and they super dangerous in the attacking third. They are very organized and very well-coached. We just have to stick to our game and do all the little things right in order to break them down.”
“They are young…so we’re going to go after their inexperience,” Luna added.
Out of Daytona State’s 29 listed players, only eight are sophomores. Of the eight, only four receive significant playing time. Also, the Falcons start a freshman goalkeeper.
Another thing that’ll help ASA Tuesday is its familiarity with Daytona State’s home field. Because they have a dedicated soccer field, the Falcons play on a regulation size 120-feet by 80-feet pitch.
The extra space can be an advantage in itself for the home team, but Luna smartly scheduled a match against Northeast Community College that was played at Daytona State College as a two-game weekend set.
Because of that, the Silver Storm won’t have to change their game plan.
“We’re going to stick exactly to our game plan,” Luna said. “We won’t change how we play just because of who we’re playing or where we’re playing. We play a high-tempo game – we look to possess the ball as much as possible and try to get it to our dangerous players like Valentina [Restrepo] and Ivana [Slipcevic].”
Restrepo and Slipcevic have become quite a dynamic duo for the Lady Silver Storm.
Restrepo leads the team in total points (33) – scoring 14 goals and assisting on five others. Slipcevic registers right behind with 17 points, totaling a team-high seven assists.
Unfortunately, ASA will be without its third-leading scorer Alejandra “Aleja” Hurtado for the next three games. Hurtado received a three-game suspension stemming from a red card she received during ASA’s win over Florida National University this past Friday (Sept. 14).
Losing Hurtado – coupled with already missing two players due to season-ending injuries suffered during the preseason – will test the Silver Storm’s depth, but Luna is confident that his team will be able to keep the ball rolling.
“We’ll be missing [Alejandra] this week, so that’s going to be a bit of an adjustment,” Luna said.
“But we have a lot of faith and trust in our entire team. We’ve found the replacement and we’re going to keep playing our game.”