FRESNO – A key contributor to Sanger High’s two-time County Metro Athletic Conference (CMAC) champion team is one of eight incoming freshmen — four with Central Section connections — on the 2023 Fresno Pacific University women’s soccer team.
Alyssa Avalos, the Apaches’ defensive anchor who helped the team capture the 2021-22 Central Section Division II championship, is one of the newcomers for a Sunbirds team coming off an 8-7-2 record in 2022.
Avalos was named CMAC Defensive Player of the Year as both a junior and a senior, and also earned first-team all-conference honors both years. She helped lead Sanger High to a 24-6-1 record and the program’s first section title in ‘21-22, and the Apaches followed up with a 16-3-1 and league title last season before losing to Buchanan High in the Division I section quarterfinals round.
In addition to Avalos, the Sunbirds have recruited fellow Valley freshman stars Candence Cunha (Clovis East), Chloe Mortensen (Clovis High) and Karly Liles (Buchanan). Other incoming freshmen are Sophie Rosales (Alta Loma), Abby Tucker (Turlock), Brooke Torrico (Livermore) and Alijandra Estrada (Tempe, Ariz.). Also joining the Sunbirds are standout community college transfers Teresa Quintero, Maria Garcia and Mariah Contreras.
“With seven of the eleven recruits being from the Valley, (the recruits) have the passion to represent the Valley’s talent for the Sunbirds,” Amanda Valentine, Fresno Pacific University coach said. “I anticipate this class to be hungry for success and have goals to push the program to new heights.”
Quintero is an attacking midfielder from Clovis Community College. She finished third on the Crush with six goals and five assist. In high school, she starred at Edison and Roosevelt High, and helped lead the Tigers to consecutive section titles.
Garcia is another Clovis CC transfer, scoring eight goals and adding eight assists. LIke Quintero, she helped lead Edison to back-to-back titles. Contreras is the Sunbirds’ other JUCO transfer, coming over from Fresno City College where she helped the Rams qualify for consecutive trips to the state final four.
“I am looking forward to the 2023 season with the addition of these women to our program,” Valentine said. “Our incoming eleven perfectly complements our returning group. The overall athleticism and mental toughness of this group is undeniable.”
Fresno Pacific will open the season on Tuesday, Aug. 22 with a home scrimmage match against Fresno City College. The Sunbirds’ official opener will be played Thursday, Aug. 31, in Fresno against Cal State-San Bernardino.