Gantt named head soccer coach at Sierra
With the “interim” tag removed from his head women’s soccer coaching position at Sierra College, Jason Gantt is eagerly looking forward to the upcoming 2013 Lady Wolverines’ season.
Gantt, who directed Sierra’s women’s squad last season to a state Final Four berth and a final No. 4 JC national ranking, was rewarded for his efforts by being named as Sierra’s full-time head coach, which includes being on campus and teaching classes at the college.
“It’s really working out great so far,” said Gantt, who will be starting his fifth season as Sierra’s coach. “Being full time and on campus is going to be a plus for our program.”
A year ago, Gantt’s Lady Wolverines came out of the highly competitive Big 8 Conference race and posted three straight playoff wins to reach the California Community College Final Four.
“We didn’t have any one or two players standout and carry the team,” said Gantt. “It was truly a team effort.”
From that squad Miani Mahannah, Antelope, earned JC All-American honors and teammate Caroline Stromick, Rio Americano, earned a scholarship to Hawaii-Hilo.
Another player, Monet Filteau, Colfax, who came back to the pitch five years after graduating from high school and with a degree from Chico State, has transferred to Washington University in St. Louis, but just to further her academic career.
“We had a real unique make-up of players last season,” Gantt said. “It worked well for us.”
As far as the 2013 season goes, Gantt feels that a new addition to the squad – former Del Oro standout Casey McCavitt – will bolster his team’s hopes this season.
McCavitt, a 2011 Del Oro graduate, played one season on scholarship at Div. I North Carolina-Greensboro where she got into 19 matches as a true freshman.
“Casey should be a plus for our team,” said Gantt. “She’s a strong player.”
Another top recruit for Sierra is former Casa Roble standout Alanna Greenhow, who comes to the Lady Wolverines after scoring 17 goals for the Rams this past season.
Two other players to keep an eye on, according to Gantt, are incoming freshman Molly McConnell, of Whitney, and Christina Keyes, of Colfax. McConnell allowed just six goals in 17 matches as Whitney’s goalkeeper, while Keyes was a versatile all-league player for Colfax’s 2012 Pioneer Valley League championship squad.
Once again, Gantt has put together a challenging schedule for Sierra. Because post season seeding in junior college soccer weighs heavily on strength of schedule, Sierra will play Fresno City, Cypress, Ventura, Santa Monica and Mt. San Jacinto.
“It’s a tough schedule so we’ll have to be ready right out of the shoot,” said Gantt.
Sierra opens its season Tuesday, Aug. 27 when it hosts Fresno City in a rematch of last season’s Northern California semi-final playoff match.