Oct. 19, 2001

By Drew McGuire Milam
Editor in Chief

Ynez Carrasco spent her first four years spiking balls over the net, now she hopes to spend her last year keeping the ball out of the net.

The fifth-year senior started for the volleyball team, in a sport she had played all her life, now she finds herself in unfamiliar territory, protecting the net in a sport she has never played.

The idea started when Carrasco was working in the soccer trailer last year, what started as a joke between the coaches and the stand-out volleyball player, turned serious when Assistant Coach Eric Yamamoto, the men's and women's goalkeeping coach, started working with her.

"Yamamoto started joking about me being a keeper next year, I went along with it, because I thought he was just saying it because I was tall, but I had never played soccer," Carrasco said. "Not to mention, I had played four years of volleyball, so I thought I had lost my eligibility."

The NCAA allows five years of athletic eligibility, but only four in one sport. So by playing a second sport, Carrasco was able to take advantage of her final year of eligibility.

After a week of joking around the soccer trailer, Carrasco called the coach on his joke and they started working together.

"[Yamamoto] floated the idea past me, he had been talking to [Carrasco] and it is a project that he has always wanted to undertake," Head Coach Jerry Smith said. "Take an incredible athlete, like [Carrasco], who really doesn't know that much about soccer or the goalkeeping position and see how good she can be in a short period of time."

Carrasco made the decision to use her last year of eligibility as a soccer player at the end of last year and spent all summer at soccer camps with junior high school girls.

"[Carrasco] is a very quick learner and has picked up soccer quickly. Not only has she never played goalkeeper, but she has never played soccer, which poses another problem," Yamamoto said. "Just learning the game and the eye-foot coordination is very important. She is coming along in those areas, she is an extremely hard worker, outstanding athlete and a great learner. It has been very enjoyable working with her."

The goalkeeper position has been shared most of the year between junior Erin Sharpe and freshman Alyssa Sobolik. Although Carrasco isn't ready to start competing for the starting position, helping a newcomer has benefited both sides.

"It's actually a learning experience for us too, because it's interesting, we don't think about the very fundamental things, like breaking down the position as much as she needs to. So through her, we learn too," Sharpe said. "It's really fun to see how much she has grown, her work ethic and her heart and everything is awesome."

Coming to the team with no soccer experience, Carrasco has played more of a leadership role with a very young team.

"She brings a great work ethic, great leadership skills, in terms of pushing the team through physical training, or getting up for an opponent," Smith said. "She has been a strong asset to our program, even though she hasn't played that much."

Before the Oct. 5 overtime victory against Stanford, Carrasco spoke up at the end of the team meeting.

"I told them we have to beat Stanford, because in my four years playing volleyball we had never beat them," Carrasco said.

Last week, Carrasco got her first playing time against Fresno State, already up 5-1, she finished up the last 12 minutes of the game, getting one touch.

"Coach Smith very casually walked up and told me to get ready and turned around and walked away, I thought he was joking," Carrasco said. "Everyone on the bench was cracking up at me, they said I had the look of sheer terror, all the girls were telling me to get ready and warm-up."

"I thought it would be really weird, and it was weird," she said. "But it was just like practice."

Carrasco got her second taste of playing time this past weekend against Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash. Leading 8-0, Carrasco completed the shutout that Sharpe started by closing out the final 13 minutes, that included a punt and a pass.

The all-time kills leader at Santa Clara, 2000 WCC Volleyball Player and Defender of the Year, is still planning on continuing her volleyball career in Europe. Carrasco has the option of joining a European volleyball tour in January, but may decide to put it off until September.

"This soccer experience is awesome, but I miss just going out there and not having to think about playing and every move that I have to do," she said.

Perfect Compliments
May 24, 2002 Perfect Compliments
Wagner goes to the Oscars
March 13, 2002 Wagner goes to the Oscars
We Are the Champions
February 19, 2002 We Are the Champions
What Number Are You?
January 27, 2002 What Number Are You?
Thick and Thin
January 22, 2002 Thick and Thin
January 8, 2002 'Crisis'
A Superstitious Bunch
December 10, 2001 A Superstitious Bunch
2001 Women's College Cup
December 9, 2001 2001 Women's College Cup
Post-Match Quotes
December 1, 2001 Post-Match Quotes
Q&A with Leslie Osborne
November 30, 2001 Q&A with Leslie Osborne
Women's Soccer Tickets On Sale
November 19, 2001 Women's Soccer Tickets On Sale
Post Match Quotes
November 18, 2001 Post Match Quotes
Bowen bounds forward
November 16, 2001 Bowen bounds forward
Post Game Quotes
November 16, 2001 Post Game Quotes
Don't Leave Home without It
November 15, 2001 Don't Leave Home without It
2001 WCC Women's Soccer Stats
November 15, 2001 2001 WCC Women's Soccer Stats
October 19, 2001 Y-Not
Post Match Quotes
October 18, 2001 Post Match Quotes
Santa Clara adidas Classic
September 30, 2001 Santa Clara adidas Classic
Post Match Quotes
September 28, 2001 Post Match Quotes
Broncos' Show Must Go On
September 18, 2001 Broncos' Show Must Go On
Sprained and hurting
August 14, 2001 Sprained and hurting
Highs and Lows
August 14, 2001 Highs and Lows
Taking it to the Next Level
August 13, 2001 Taking it to the Next Level
Did You Know?
July 10, 2001 Did You Know?