WATSONVILLE—The Monte Vista Christian girls’ lacrosse team is still somewhat of a new program that has been slowly developing over the past three years when they first arrived on the scene.
Sure, one can still consider the Mustangs as the new kids on the block but senior midfielder Arianna Covarrubias might have something else to say about that after a 17-7 victory over powerhouse Stevenson School in non-league action Wednesday evening.
The Mustangs followed up with a 15-3 win over Monterey High in non-league play Thursday, which keeps them unbeaten with a 7-0 overall record.
“That was really an impressive team effort,” Covarrubias said. “It was something we’ve been working towards. Our coach never made us doubt our abilities. He was always encouraging us, trying to lift us up and give us the assurance that, yes, we’re here to battle and we can compete.”
Senior midfielder/attacker Courtney Miller and her teammates had just one day to prepare for Stevenson because they got the notice less than 48 hours prior to the match. She said she went into the game very optimistic but in the back of their minds there was also some intimidation.
Miller mentioned that for the most part they had many pep talks, saying they had it in the bag and they were the stronger team.
“This is a huge statement win for us and it’s boosting everyone’s spirits on the team and we’re so ready for the next one,” she said.
Miller finished with four goals against Stevenson and seven against Monterey to give her a total of 32 on the season.
However, it wasn’t an easy task for MVC’s defense which had to focus on multiple star players in Wednesday’s game against Stevenson.
“All of their players are very consistent and we had to match that consistency with our players, as well,” Covarrubias said. “Stevenson, they’ve had a record of having a very consistently strong team.”
MVC coach Matt Coleman said programs such as Stevenson–which qualified for the Central Coast Section playoffs last season–set the tone for their confidence.
“You beat a team like this, you make a statement,” he said. “So, let’s go out there and make a statement tonight.”
Covarrubias mentioned this season is the final ride for the seniors and they’ve been playing every game like it’s their last, especially after the Covid-19 pandemic interrupted a lot of their earlier years. She realized how much they missed playing.
“That doesn’t mean being relaxed, it means playing to the best abilities so you’re satisfied,” Covarrubias said.
The Mustangs had a 9-5 lead going into halftime, yet Covarrubias has always been nervous about being ahead at the break. She recalls so many times, especially on her club team where they got too relaxed.
Covarrubias had nothing to worry about in the second half after the defense allowed just two goals. She finished with a game-high seven goals for MVC.
They are missing one of their key defenders in senior Gwenyth Love, who was out for personal reasons. The Mustangs had to switch up their defense just a bit but nothing too drastic.
“We just basically said be a brick wall, no one is getting through you,” Miller said.
Sophomore goalkeeper Jana Bacero Duncan was also a stalwart in front of the net and had a couple of big saves in the second half.
“Whenever we get those, everyone just gets all pumped up,” Miller said.
Most of the team has been playing together since freshman year. Miller—who committed to play at Concordia University Irvine—realized this year’s senior class needed to step up and try their best in order to bring them closer together.
One minor setback for the Mustangs is they have a smaller roster compared to some of the other programs, which means players have put in some extra minutes on the pitch.
“But this team, we have grit,” Miller said. “We got this, I think.”
This year’s senior class is the same group that started the lacrosse program in middle school and helped build the foundation to where they are today. Coleman said no task is too small for both Miller and Covarrubias.
“I’ve asked them to continue to view it as you’re leaving a legacy,” he said. “When you’re done here, the program keeps on moving in part because of who you are.”
The Mustangs next week will host Scotts Valley, which is another group that’s very consistent and features a lot of experienced players.
Miller said they’ll just continue going back to practice and put in a lot of the work to push themselves to be the best version possible, especially for future games.
“We keep our confidence up, we keep encouraging our team,” Miller said. “We’re such a close knit team and it’s all about our teammates on this team.”
MVC (7-0) will play Scotts Valley on March 22 at 7pm.