Orestimba came up just short in its quest for a Southern League girls soccer championship last season.

This year, the Lady Warriors return a solid core of players from that squad and expect to once again be in the thick of the league race and bidding for a post-season berth.

Junior mid-fielder Daniela Lopez, who was named the Southern League MVP last season after helping lead Orestimba to an 11-1-2 league mark, returns to lead the Lady Warriors.

Head coach Jose Lopez said Lopez, who scored 15 goals last year, is a player who elevates the play of the teammates around her.

“She really motivates the other girls,” the coach commented. “When she’s there, they feel like they can play with anybody in our league.”

Juniors Sophia Avila and Parker Sharpe also return to Orestimba’s front lines and will give the Lady Warriors multiple goal-scoring threats.

A quartet of returning defenders, including Paola Arroyo, Melony Garcia, Kimberly Beltran and Citlali Lopez, give Orestimba a seasoned defense. Arroyo is a junior, while the other three returning defenders are seniors.

In net, junior Marlen Sanchez will once again be the last line of defense for Orestimba.

Coach Lopez said some freshmen and sophomores will be called up to round out the Orestimba roster.

Orestimba, after not fielding a junior varsity team last year, has sufficient participation to again field two teams this season.

Lopez will coach both.

“I am excited about the number of freshmen and sophomores we have,” he commented. “Those are the players you can build on.”

Lopez said he anticipates Orestimba continuing to build on last year’s success.

In addition to the talent level, he noted, the Lady Warriors have shown a strong work ethic that will serve to further elevate their game.

Growth - both collectively as a team and as individual players - is always a priority, said Lopez, who is in his fourth season at Orestimba.

“I think it is going to be an exciting year,” he stated, adding that he would love to see greater fan support for the teams. “It is one of the things that we kind of lack. I would invite (the community) to come out and enjoy the hard work that these girls put in.”