Coachella Valley's Gutierrez concerned more about winning

Coachella Valley's Gutierrez concerned more about winning

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Coachella Valley's Gutierrez concerned more about winning

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THERMAL

Three years ago, the Coachella Valley girls’ soccer team made history. For the first time since the program came into existence in 1994, it earned a spot in the CIF Southern Section playoffs.

The Arabs defeated Pacifica, 2-1, on the road in Round 1. The following week, their season ended in a 2-1 loss to Woodcrest Christian. Still, it was the most successful season the CV girls have ever had.

Fourteen seniors played on that team. But three of the starters were freshmen. One of them was forward Alondra Gutierrez, now a senior and one of three captains on this year’s squad.

Gutierrez is not only a four-year starter; she’s the team’s leading scorer with 11 goals in nine games. She has scored 27 goals over the past two seasons and has a chance to break the program record for career points. Yet she has overcome a scary knee injury this fall and says getting back to the postseason is her priority.

The Desert Sun recently caught up with Gutierrez to discuss this year’s squad, her place in the school’s record book and what it’ll take to get back to CIF.

QUESTION: After four years, you’re getting close to the school record for career goals. How often does that cross your mind?

ANSWER: At one point I did think about it. But then I thought maybe I should stop being selfish and help the team more because it’s a team sport.

When did that change?

I thought about it twice earlier this season when we played Imperial and Brawley. We beat Imperial 8-0 and Coach (Francisco Morales) asked me, ‘Do you want to go for the record?’ But I only scored one goal that game. I don’t want to be selfish. I saw everybody else trying hard to score, so I just passed the ball.

Then, against Brawley, I scored four (goals). I think I could’ve had the (single game) record. Our record here is seven goals in one game. I wanted to beat the record. When I was younger, I think that’s all I wanted because I was little and I was immature. But now, I want to take my team far, and that’s more important.

You took three months off this fall to rehabilitate an injured knee. What happened and how has it been not conditioning until November?

An MRI showed a minor fracture to my ACL, so that threw me off and I thought I was done. But I didn’t want to stop; I wanted to play this season. I was on the verge of getting surgery and the day before they said I wouldn’t need it. So I just never got it and I played.

Will you need to get the surgery after the season or has it healed?

I don’t think I’ll need it. It healed, but it still hurts at times when I’m on the field. I’m trying to progress and I’ve been practicing without a knee brace. It’s pretty weak but if I keep conditioning and strengthen it, it’ll be better.

You were a freshman when CV went to CIF for the first time. What was that like?

It was a pretty amazing feeling as a freshman going. There were three freshmen on that team and we told each other that year that we were going to do whatever we can to make our team go again.

What are some of the similarities of that team to this year’s group?

That team was really senior heavy. We had 14 seniors, and only four players returning the next year. So that was pretty hard. Changing coaches was also pretty hard. But this year’s team again has some experience.

What is the strength of this year’s team?

I think our strength is that we’re united. We’re a family, not just a team. Usually other teams will have little cliques, as much as they deny it, but we are always together.

The Desert Valley League will be tough again this year. What do you think the team has to do to get back to CIF?

I think it’s just mental, pretty much. People will doubt us, but we know what we’re capable of. Once you’re in the game, you have to stay with it and not give it up. I think we’re capable of going back to CIF.

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