Pumas Prowl Home To Rumsey

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It was old home week for a pair of Paradise Valley Community College soccer players.

Jessica Coleman and Amy Wilcox, both former Lady Longhorn soccer stars, escaped the searing desert heat to return last week to Rumsey Park where they participated -- along with about 20 teammates --in the Lady Puma preseason training camp.

During the team's stay in Payson, the players practiced three times a day at Rumsey and were housed at Mount Cross Lutheran Church.

PVCC head coach Amy Garelick and assistant Kacey Bingham accompanied the team to the preseason retreat.

According to Wilcox, the Puma players welcomed the stay in the Rim Country.

"They really liked the cooler weather in Payson," she said. "When we went back (to Paradise Valley), they said they wished they could have taken the weather with them."

Wilcox, a sophomore at PVCC, was named last season the Lady Puma's most improved player. Although she began the 2004 campaign as a reserve, by midseason she was in the starting lineup.

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Jessica Coleman, a 2005 graduate of Payson High School battles a teammate for a loose ball during a soccer camp held at Rumsey Park.

Her finest freshman moment might have been a resounding goal she scored in a mid-season game against nationally-ranked Mesa Community College.

"It was from about 15-yards out and she rifled it through a crowd," her father and former Lady Horn coach Randy Wilcox said. "At the (postseason) banquet, the coach said, ‘there probably wasn't a boy's team goal kicked any harder'."

Amy Wilcox's personal goal this season is to become even more prolific offensively.

"I'd like to be one of the top scorers in the league," she said. "And my goal for the team is to help us go to nationals."

During the coming campaign, Wilcox anticipates she will continue to play the forward position she manned as a freshman.

As a former four-year letter winner at PHS, Wilcox earned all-state tournament honors during her sophomore season and was all-region as a junior and senior.

Coleman, a PVCC freshman expected to play the wing position for the Pumas, accepted an athletic scholarship last spring after starring in both soccer and softball at PHS.

As a senior, she led the Lady Horn soccer team to a berth in the Class 4A state tournament.

She calls that feat the most memorable of her three-year varsity career.

"That was our goal all season and we did it," she said.

Following her senior year, Coleman's coach, Joe Schmidt doled out praise for his star. "Jessica is mentally very tough, she never gave up on any ball or any game," he said. "She's among the cream of the crop."

After accepting the PVCC scholarship, Coleman spent much of her summer practicing and conditioning with her younger sister, Shanna, on the same Rumsey Park field where the Lady Puma camp was held.

Academically, Coleman hopes to transfer --fter two years at PVCC --o Northern Arizona University where she will major in dental hygiene.

Wilcox said she will major in education with hopes of someday coaching either soccer or basketball in high school.

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