CCC women's soccer dropped their opening game 1-0 to Hesston College Monday.

It is a new season with new players and new hope for the Central Christian College women's soccer team as they begin play in the 2017. They will also see many new faces as they move from the Association of Independent Institutions to the Sooner Athletic Conference.

The Tigers enter their third season under Coach Scott Fogarty, finishing 12-9-1 overall last year, 11-5-1 in the regular season, giving Fogarty a 37-26-2 record as the CCC coach. But Fogarty and his squad know that with joining the SAC they will see a significant increase in their strength of schedule.

"Early conference games against Wayland Baptist, Southwestern Christian, SAGU(Southwestern Assemblies of God University) and Mid America Christian will have significant impact on postseason odds," said Fogarty. "It will be a good indicator of where we belong in the conference."

Road trips to Oklahoma Baptist, Northwestern of the NAIA and Dordt College will be good early season tests for Central to see where improvements need to be made before the conference schedule begins.

"We have most of our starters returning but lost a big part of our midfield with the departure of All-American Nikki Neal," Fogarty explained. "Her absence will likely force us to reshuffle our system and move players around to help us compete in midfield in a very strong conference."

Key returning players for the Tigers include Isabel Sierra at forward, Goldie Bougher at goalkeeper, Shannon Huesca on defense and Rachel Meier at forward. Goalie Shayna Watkins returns to CCC after a year away at Metro State while defensive midfielder Lea Dominguez is listed as a newcomer worth watching.

Central opened their season Monday as they traveled down to take on Hesston College, where the home-standing Larks shutout the Tigers 1-0. Central goes on the road again Thursday to Barton Community College in an afternoon affair before returning for their home-opener on Aug. 29 against Bethel College of the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference.

Contact Matt Cole by email at mcole@mcphersonsentinel.com and follow him on Twitter @MacSentinel.