The Gauchos have another busy weekend ahead of them. On Saturday, the Gauchos open their season with the Surfside Cup at Rancho Bernardo High School in San Diego. Besides acting as the opener for the season, the cup also provides an opportunity for 10 of the nation’s top high school teams to observe the teams playing in the tournament. The Gauchos will play San Diego State on Saturday and Arizona State on Sunday. Last season, the Gauchos defeated both teams, beating San Diego 18-4 at home and Arizona 14-3 in Tempe. Head Coach Paul Ramsey is most concerned with SDSU for now, simply because they are the Gauchos’ first opponent.

“San Diego State, since they’re the next opponent we play, is the team that has me the most concerned,” Ramsey said. ”We’re on the ‘get excited to play the next game’ theme now.”

Senior captain and midfielder Katie Moran is also more concerned with SDSU.

“SDSU is always a fast team so they might be more of a challenge,” Moran said. “Plus, their team’s average height is about five feet tall, so we sometimes make a few extra fouls trying to reach down to hit the ball out of their sticks.”

Though the Gauchos handled the Aztecs with ease the last time they met, SDSU has two new coaches this year, both former All-Americans from Northwestern University, and that could provide something of a challenge. Ramsey, however, believes he knows what he can expect.

“I’ve seen [their style of play] quite a bit since the Northwestern NCAA championship games are on TV every year and that style of defense was one of the schemes we ran when I was coaching the defense at Hofstra,” Ramsey said. ”The key is to keep the ball moving ahead of the double team and get the ball over to the side of the field opposite the double team before attacking the goal.  They’ll be marking the ball behind the goal if they’re doing everything so we need to be sure to not to assume it’s a safe area and be ready to attack from all four corners of the scoring area.”

Moran believes her team is ready for the season to begin, and that they have a chance to do something special.

“We’re really excited to see how we all play together in these first two matches,” Moran said. “I feel confident that our team is getting exactly where we need to be at this point in the season. We’re ready to be a dominant force in the league, from these first two games on. And the best part? We look better every day that we play together.”