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Lopez garners praise
Jocelyn Lopez final
Jocelyn Lopez

Stanislaus State celebrated the achievements of its student-athletes for the 2019-20 school year virtually this past week.

Central Valley High School grad Jocelyn Lopez was named Female Freshman of the Year during the Warrior Athletics Awards Ceremony on May 28.

“I was watching the ceremony at home with my family,” said Lopez, a standout defender on the Stanislaus State women’s soccer team. “It was a special moment receiving the award in front of them. I still have a long ways to go as a player. This is just the beginning.”

“It’s a tremendous accomplishment,” said Gabriel Bolton, Lopez’s head coach. “There were a lot of deserving athletes in our 14 sports here. But she really stood out. It’s very rare to come in as a freshman and play as much as she did.”

Lopez started at center back as the Warriors compiled a 15-6-0 overall record, advanced to the NCAA Division-II Tournament and finished in fourth place in the California Collegiate Athletic Association standings (8-4) last fall. 

“It was a really special year,” she said. “We have to work hard to keep the tradition going.”

“Coming into the season, I definitely had high expectations for her, but understood she was a freshman,” Bolton stated. “I didn’t want to put added pressure on her. She had an outstanding year. She was definitely a leader back there. She helped us keep everything organized.”

“I don’t get really nervous,” Lopez added. “I have a poker face when I’m on the field. I just love playing soccer.”

Lopez’s outstanding play earned her a spot on the CCAA Second Team.

“She brought a lot of speed, technical skill and calmness to the backline,” Bolton said. “She was a lockdown defender, too.”

Lopez started 20 of 21 games.

She ranked second on the team in minutes played. 

She played a total of 1,887 minutes.

“I never expected to have a year like I did,” she said. “He (Bolton) had a lot of trust in me facing seniors and juniors. I just tried to do my job to the best of my ability. You’re never going to have a perfect game. You’re going to make mistakes. You have to be resilient.”

“She has all the skills you need to be a great player,” Bolton said. “She’s also a very intelligent player. She has a high IQ.”

Lopez was recruited to play forward at Stanislaus State but switched positions out of necessity.

 “She did what’s best for the team,” Bolton said. “Where she plays in the future depends on the needs of the team.”

“I’ll play wherever my team needs me,” Lopez added. “Not where I’m most comfortable at.”

A four-year varsity starter at Central Valley, Lopez helped lead the Hawks to 77 victories, one section finals appearance, four conference titles and four playoff berths.

She scored a program-record 96 goals and dished out 45 assists during her career.

Lopez was voted Most Valuable Player of the Central California Conference and Western Athletic Conference her senior and junior years, respectively.