by Carolyn Linck, '11
SANTA CLARA, CALIF. - Margueritte Aozasa (MA) believes her senior season of Santa Clara soccer will be her best. Working tirelessly this spring and summer, Aozasa hopes to help the Broncos return to national prominence and the Final Four in 2011. Recently www.SantaClaraBroncos.com (SCB) caught up with Aozasa about her physical preparation for the season, the highlights of her Bronco career and how she balances school with soccer.
SCB: What are you looking forward to most in your senior season?
MA: To be honest, I can't really point to a specific moment that I'm looking forward to this upcoming season. Being a senior, I'm going to do all that I can to make this year memorable both on and off the field. I can't wait for the new freshmen to come in and for us to start the fall season. Then, of course, there is the NCAA tournament at the end of the year that is always on my mind. I think our team has really made some progress in the past couple seasons, and I'm really excited to measure ourselves against the best in the nation.
SCB: What are your goals for the 2011 season on a team and individual level?
MA: As a team, I think our main goal is to reestablish ourselves as one of the dominant programs in the country. The past two seasons we have gone out early in the tournament, both times losing to Stanford in very close games. Stanford was NCAA runner up both years. This year our goal is to make it back to the Final Four. Individually, my goal is to do all that I can to help the team get there. I'm simply trying to make the most of my senior season. I want to look back proudly on my time at SCU, knowing that I made a positive difference in the program.
SCB: You started all 22 games for the Broncos last season. What kind of physical toll does this take on your body? How do you prepare for the long season?
MA: The fall season really does put a great deal of stress on the body. Personally, I think with my history of knee injuries and my aggressive style of play, my body really starts to feel it towards the end of the season. Preparation for the fall season begins in winter and continues through spring and summer. My main objective in preparation is to balance rest and conditioning, ensuring that I am fit coming into fall but also fresh.
SCB: What aspects of your game are currently working to improve? How?
MA: As a center defender it is very important for me to be able to distribute accurately out of the back. Right now I'm working on hitting balls over distance with my weaker foot. At this point it's not so much about execution as about confidence. It's all about being comfortable hitting that ball in a game situation. Also, as the center of our backline it is very important for me to take on a greater leadership role. Going into fall I really want to be a greater source of motivation and inspiration for my teammates.
SCB: In 2010 you were named to the WCC All-Academic Team. How are you able to effectively balance school and soccer?
MA: My teammates joke that the school could legitimately charge me rent for the amount of time I spend in the library. While I wouldn't go this far, it is true that I am a very dedicated student. To me, balancing school and soccer is really about using time effectively along with setting priorities and sticking to them. Both school and soccer are very important to me, so there are times where I have to make sacrifices in order to put time into both of them. When it's all said and done, however, I know it was time spent well.
SCB: What has been the highlight of your Santa Clara soccer career thus far?
MA: I'm so extremely grateful for my time at SCU, because every season I've had moments that stick out to me as monumental. My freshman year our team had a rough season, but the highlight was tying UCLA 0-0. The next year the highlight was advancing to the Sweet 16 after a PK shootout. This past year, I'd say it was when I scored two corner kick goals against Oregon to win the game 2-1. I'm hoping to add to that list this upcoming season with some big team wins and individual performances.
SCB: The team finished this spring undefeated, going 5-0 with wins over Stanford, Fresno State, UC Davis, Cal Poly and California. How much momentum did this give the team going into the summer, and how do you think this will benefit the team in the fall?
MA: This spring was huge for us as a team, because every team we faced, except for Fresno State, had given us some trouble in past. Our biggest wins were probably against Cal and Stanford, which are two very solid teams. After those two games, I think it was exceedingly clear that our team could play with the best teams in the country, which is important especially for our younger players. Our team gained a lot of confidence for this upcoming season, which will serve as a source of great motivation during the summer. We all realize that we set a standard of work ethic and commitment to each other in the spring and winter, which will undoubtedly continue through fall.
SCB: The team is losing five seniors, Kendra Perry, Amanda Poach, Lindsey Johnson, Maxine Goynes and Anessa Patton. How do you think the team will fill these holes in 2011?
MA: I don't know if I'm going to miss those five players more on the field or off of it. Not only were they all key players for us, but they are really some of my closest friends and were huge personalities on our team. In that group alone, we had some of our greatest team inspirations and comedic talent. Tactically, we will rely on our coaches to find and train players to fill the gaps left behind by our seniors. At the same time, though, we have to understand that this is a new team and our personnel is different from last year. Thus, it won't be so much about "filling gaps" as it is creating a new team style and an identity all our own.