By John Philip Wyllie
After garnering league honors as a sophomore and junior member of Sweetwater High School’s girls soccer team, Yesenia Hernandez was hoping that this, her senior season would be even more memorable. It didn’t start out that way for the talented Red Devil midfielder. In the season opener against San Marcos, she heard something crack in her ankle during a nasty tackle. Initially, she thought she had broken it, but when the doctor revealed a sprain rather than a break, she received a new lease on her season. Currently 6-6, the Red Devils are in the hunt for a coveted CIF berth. Their chances of getting there are greatly enhanced with a healthy Hernandez patrolling their midfield.
“We played at San Marcos in the first game of the season and before half-time, there goes my ankle,” Hernandez recalled. “I thought my season was over. I didn’t want to go to the doctor because I was afraid of what he would tell me. But when I got there they said (it was a sprain rather than a break) and that I would be O.K. I came back (from the injury) in four weeks and here I am. Little by little (the ankle) is coming back. I hope by the end of the season it will be (100%) better because I want to show what I’ve got. I know I can do better than I am doing right now.”
“Yesenia was an all league player last year and scored 14 goals for us as a forward. After sitting out following her injury, she is once again leading the team this year as our center midfielder and she is one of our captains,” said Red Devil coach, Roberto Bonilla. “Yesenia is also a good student and a great person overall.”
“One of our goals every season is to make it to the postseason,” Bonilla continued, “but playing well in our league is our number one priority. We hope to finish in the top three (along with Bonita Vista and Eastlake) and from there make it into the playoffs. I think that is realistic, but there are definitely going to be some ups and downs along the way.”
Hernandez is just one of several outstanding players for the Red Devils. Sophomore Jenny Jimenez led the team in scoring a year ago with an amazing 35 goals. She is back again this season. So is Donna Ortiz who chipped in 17 goals in 2006. Four year varsity players Mirna Marquez and Ivette Veloria share the team leadership as captains along with Hernandez. With four freshman on this year’s squad, Sweetwater looks to be a team on the rise that is building for the future.