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Goalie helps Knights get off to strong start

Osegueda’s play keys 10-2-1 start for Bishop’s girls’ soccer

Despite having won the CIF San Diego Section Division IV championship last season and the CIF Southern California regional title the year before, expectations were tempered for the girls’ soccer team at The Bishop’s School as this season began.

That was largely because the Knights had graduated so many top players from those standout teams, but it appears that the players who have replaced them are doing just fine. Bishop’s entered the week of Jan. 11 with an impressive 10-2-1 record, and the team’s early success can be traced in part to the stellar play of junior goalie Devan Osegueda.

“She’s been a dominant keeper this year,” Bishop’s coach Brian Quinn said. “We’ve played some good teams, so she’s had work to do. There have been some real opportunities for her to showcase her talents, and she has.”

Osegueda had made 62 saves in the Knights’ first 13 games, and had recorded a whopping nine shutouts, including seven straight. While the Knights had scored just 20 goals in their 13 games, they had also allowed only six.

Her exceptional play — aided, of course, by a strong defense in front of her — helped the Knights win the Butch Lee Memorial, and to get into the championship of the Barron’s Tournament, which the lost in overtime to Poway.

“We didn’t expect to get off to this good of a start, and we’ve kind of surpassed what we’ve done in previous years so far,” Osegueda said. “We’re all really pleased about it. We’ve really come together as a team.”

Quinn said Osegueda’s focus has improved this season, adding that it’s not easy for a keeper to remain mentally sharp when her team controls the ball so much that she faces shots very infrequently.

“A number of times, she hasn’t had a lot to do, but has been very good when called upon,” Quinn said. “That’s been the biggest area where she’s grown.”

Osegueda, an Encinitas resident, attended La Costa Canyon High School as a freshman and played for the Mavericks, then transferred to Bishop’s to start her sophomore year and earned the Knights’ starting goalkeeper job right away.

She said she was happy with the change, but it took her some time to get comfortable. She’s more settled in now, she said, and considerably more confident, which has manifested itself in her taking charge more in situations where she might have backed off last year.

Quinn said Osegueda goes after more balls that draw her far off the end line, which has cut down on opposing teams’ scoring chances. Osegueda agreed.

“I think I have a lot more confidence this year,” she said. “Every year, you gain more experience, and that has helped, but it all still goes back to the team and the defenders in front of me.

“As a junior, you need to step up and make those plays. Last year, I had seniors in front of me, but this year I have younger players in front of me. It feels a little more fulfilling coming out and making those saves to help your team win.”

Gregory Ball covers sports for La Jolla Light. He can be reached at ballgregory@yahoo.com.