SBVC’s Sanchez earns national honor

The celebration hasn’t stopped for the state champion San Bernardino Valley College women’s soccer team.

The latest honor goes to sophomore forward Araceli Sanchez, who’s been named the 2010 Division III Junior College National Player of the Year by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA).

Sanchez, 19, will be among the athletes honored at the annual All-America Luncheon to be held in Baltimore, Md., Jan. 15 as part of the 2011 NSCAA Convention.

SBVC coach Kristin Hauge will accompany her on that trip and be recognized for her selection earlier this month as the West Region Coach of the Year.

“It’s nice recognition for our program, and lets the four-year schools out there know that we play pretty good soccer,” Hauge said. “It lets them know they can come to us and find quality players.”

Sanchez and Hauge led the Wolverines to their first 20-win season and state title in school history. It was just the second state title in any women’s sport at the school, the first coming in 1974 in archery, which was discontinued four years later.

The Wolverines notched playoff wins over Bakersfield, Cypress and Ventura and followed with victories over Fresno City and Santa Rosa in the state tournament held at College of the Canyons.

“It really was the perfect season,” Sanchez said. “We did everything we set out to do, and our hard work paid off.”

Sanchez, a graduate of Moreno Valley High School, was earlier recognized as the Foothill Conference Player of the Year. She also earned first-team All-Southern California and all-state honors.

She had 12 goals and six assists in the regular season, and added three goals and two assists in the playoffs.

The next task for Sanchez is to decide on a four-year school. Hauge said that 30 to 40 are interested in Sanchez, who hopes to become a border patrol agent.

“I really haven’t narrowed it down yet, but I would like to go out of state,” she said. “It will be whatever school is the best for me athletically and academically.”

Sanchez is pleased to be part of a group of players that have boosted the program into elite company.

“We had a great run,” she said.