Girls soccer: 'Out of this world' Stokes has Palo Verde thinking big

2012-11-30T00:00:00Z Girls soccer: 'Out of this world' Stokes has Palo Verde thinking bigDaniel Gaona Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
November 30, 2012 12:00 am  • 

Palo Verde girls soccer coach Jim Mentz gives out a Hershey's Skor candy bar to players for every hat trick they get.

Last season, forward Jasmine Stokes played 26 games, scored 51 goals and earned eight Skor bars.

And the senior isn't tired of earning the chocolate-covered toffee bars.

Stokes, who verbally committed to California Baptist University on a full-ride scholarship, wants to have another big season. While she wants to score as many goals as possible, winning a state title is her ultimate goal.

Palo Verde lost 3-2 in overtime to Goodyear Estrella Foothills in last year's Division III championship. Stokes netted one of the two goals.

There are only six returners from that squad, so both Stokes and Mentz know this year will be a challenge. But Stokes, who also had offers from Arizona and New Mexico, is an all-around strong player in her fourth year of being a varsity starter.

"She's fast, she's powerful, she has moves out of this world," Mentz said.

The Star recently sat down with Stokes to chat about this season and her college choice:

Three reasons she can have an encore of last season

• She wants a state title: Last year, she played hard because she wanted to help her senior teammates win a state title. This year, as a team captain, she wants to do all she can to go out as a state champion.

• Double talent: Stokes broke her right ankle playing soccer in sixth grade. After it healed, she didn't want to re-injure it, so she learned to kick with her left foot.

Once she started shooting strong with both feet, it gave her even more of an edge against defenses because she can get pushed either way and still score.

• She's got speed and moves: Mentz said the way Stokes can make moves at top speed is what separates her from others. Stokes said when she's going full speed making cuts it feels routine - like riding a bike.

In addition to playing club soccer this offseason, Stokes had Mountain View High football coach Clarence McRae as a personal trainer to help her overall fitness.

Three reasons she chose Cal Baptist

• Proximity to Tucson: Originally, Stokes was considering going to school on the East Coast to be far away, but then she realized it'd be tough to live so far away from her parents. She still wanted to get out of town, so her best option was Cal Baptist in Riverside, Calif. The school in transitioning from NAIA to NCAA Division II.

She didn't want to stay in Tucson or go to New Mexico because she's ready to get out of the desert.

• It's Southern California: Being close to Los Angeles and San Diego was enough to persuade Stokes to go, even though she didn't get to see much of Riverside when she visited last month. She said the city was smaller but there was a mall in the area which she liked. Stokes also said the weather was her favorite part, so it sets up for an enjoyable experience.

• The soccer team is good: Stokes said she likes sixth-year coach Kristen St. Clair and the program's success. Last year, the Lancers went 18-2-1 and were National Christian College Athletic Association champions. This season, they won their second straight PacWest conference title and are playing in Saturday's NCCAA championship game.

Watch list

• Anyssa Dagnino, Sr., Sahuaro

• Laura DeMers, Sr., Catalina Foothills

• Madison Kinzer, Sr., Ironwood Ridge

• Madison McEldowney, Sr., Ironwood Ridge

• Amber Measley, Jr., Catalina Foothills

• Laura Pimienta, Sr., Mountain View

• Priscilla Pimienta, Sr., Mountain View

• Jasmine Simmons, Jr., Sahuaro

• Shannon Shields, Sr., Sabino

• Jasmine Stokes, Sr., Palo Verde

Note: Selections made by Star staff in consultation with area coaches

Copyright 2014 Arizona Daily Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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