Local soccer will come in double doses over the next three weeks at Chukchansi Park, beginning Saturday when the Fresno Freeze kicks off its Women’s Premier Soccer League season as part of a doubleheader with the Fresno Fuego.
The Freeze will host the San Francisco Nighthawks at 5 p.m., ahead of the Fuego’s 7:30 p.m. match against San Francisco City FC in the Premier Development League.
In its second year, the Freeze is eager to make a run at the Pacific-North division title.
We have to come out strong and maintain that throughout the season.
Midfielder Nikki Schrey, a former Cal and Edison High standout
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“I’m really excited because we set the bar high,” midfielder Nikki Schrey said. “We have to come out strong and maintain that throughout the season.”
Schrey, entering her seventh season in the WPSL, hopes the Freeze can avoid another late collapse. Fresno lost 2-1 in its regular-season finale at the West Coast Wildcatz and missed the playoffs by two points in the standings.
The Freeze fields a core returning group: defenders Fanny Johansson, Lydia Tarasevic and Chelsea Rojo, midfielders Schrey and Ashley Tenn, forward Jaycee Bingham and goalie Domenique Banta.
A new but familiar face is former Santa Clara/Memorial High standout Anessa Aragon (formerly Patton). Aragon will look to help bolster the offense after Elise Krieghoff signed with the Boston Breakers of the professional National Women’s Soccer League.
Saturday’s opener is the first of four home matches to start the season for the Freeze, all doubleheaders with the Fuego.
Pacheco Clásico – The Fuego is hungry for its first win of the PDL season, and the hunt continues against San Francisco City FC in the Pacheco Clásico.
It’s the season opener for first-year PDL club San Francisco. In last week’s Fuego opener, Fresno showed a promising back line whose only misstep came on a counter attack in a 1-0 loss to the Burlingame Dragons, the defending Central Pacific division champions.
The Fuego should have some added weapons as Elliott Hord and Christian Chaney are expected to return after not suiting up last week while awaiting clearance from the league.
Kwaku Amoah, a Midwest import from Waldorf University in Iowa, made his Fuego debut against Burlingame as a stoppage-time substitute for winger Fellipe Souza. Amoah, 24, is expected to add speed to an offense led by Mason Gonzalez, Joao De Rosa and Milton Blanco. Also expected to return is midfielder Anthony Velarde, who had been injured.
WPSL: FRESNO FREEZE VS. SAN FRANCISCO NIGHTHAWKS
- Kickoff: 5 p.m. at Chukchansi Park
- 2015 records: Freeze 8-3-1, Nighthawks 5-6-2
PDL: FRESNO FUEGO VS. SAN FRANCISCO CITY FC
- Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. at Chukchansi Park
- Records: Fuego 0-1-0, San Francisco 0-0-0
- Webcast/TV: Youtube.com/CMACFresno (Xfinity 94/AT&T U-Verse 99)