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Senior Profile: Dominguez relishing larger role
It would have been easy for the Colusa High girls soccer team to give up after watching their best player go down with a season-ending injury early in the season.
The RedHawks entered the season with an extremely young team and with their third coach in three years, so losing their leading scorer, senior Becky Velasquez, to an injury on Dec. 12 against Hamilton was a huge blow.
Rather than lose focus, the four remaining seniors rallied the team together and several players stepped into bigger roles.
Senior striker Valeria Dominguez was especially close to Velasquez - they are cousins - and buckled down to make sure the RedHawks were once again in contention for a section title.
After scoring four goals her freshman year, and four more as a junior, Dominguez has eight goals so far during the regular season, second on the team to junior Sami Espindola, who has 11.
"She represents the epitome of a what a stoic is, she's got her game face on whether it's during a game or practice," first-year Colusa coach Bobby Kirkman said. "I'd say she's one of the more meticulous learners when it comes to trying to implement what we're doing offensively."
While putting together a strong senior campaign and helping the RedHawks (6-7-2, 3-2-2) hold on to second place in the Mid-Valley League, Dominguez also secured a place to play after she graduates from high school.
Dominguez will play soccer at Southwestern Oregon Community College in Coos Bay, Ore., next season.
"When I went up there it was the first time I'd been to Oregon. I just liked the trees, I like the environment there and a lot of the people there are nice — and another bonus is they pump your gas," Dominguez said. "It's a whole new, different place and vibe — that's what I really liked about it."
Dominguez began playing soccer when she was 4-years old and played for a competitive club team in Yuba City for two years before reaching high school.
She was part of the RedHawks' section championship winning team during her freshman year, which is one of her favorite high school memories, but was home schooled her sophomore year and didn't play. She returned as a junior and helped Colusa reach the section championship game once again where they ran into a stacked University Prep team.
This year the team faced plenty of challenges and though they have struggled at times, losing four games by just one goal, Dominguez is proud of the team's performance.
"Coming from my freshman year when Coral (Imhoff) and I were the only freshman starters to now we have five starters that are freshmen," Dominguez said. "It's hard, but they've done really well."
Mentoring the younger players on the team comes naturally to Dominguez, who will study to become an elementary school teacher while in college.
She originally wanted to study criminal justice in college but had a change of heart after spending time with the children at Burchfield Primary School.
"I do student teaching at Burchfield, second grade, and when I did it I realized I liked kids, I liked to be around them," Dominguez said.
With her plans for college lined up, Dominguez is spending the rest of her high school days soaking in her time with teammates, teachers and her family.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 749-4789