Padilla was forced to medically redshirt the 2011 season after suffering a knee injury in the Spring prior to the season.
Started 17 of 19 matches, coming off the bench in the first two games as she returned from a knee injury. Tallied a goal and two assists on the season in 1069 minutes played. Scored her lone goal on Sept 24 against Montana, as Padilla came in on a break from midfield and blasted a shot from just inside the box for the game-winning goal in the 1-0 victory. Added a pair of assists, including a helper in the Tigers 3-0 win over Cal State Fullerton on Oct. 10. Set up the game-winning goal in Pacific’s 1-0 win at Cal Poly on Oct. 15, creating space and passing off for a Kristina Wavomba finish in the 77th minute. Placed 11 of her 30 shots on frame. Cracked the top 20 in Pacific scoring with 22 points in her first 31 games. She ranks eighth in Tiger history in both points per game (0.71) and goals per game (0.29). Her nine career goals rank 15th on Pacific’s all-time list.
Making a strong case for freshman of the year, Padilla finished the season with All-Big West Conference Honorable Mention accolades after suffering a season-ending injury during the Tigers’ 1-0 defeat at Long Beach State on Oct. 1. While only serving in 12 games, missing all but one conference match, Maricela paced Pacific with eight goals, two assists, 18 points and 45 shots. Her break-out performance came during the Tigers’ road trip to Hawaii from Sept. 5-6. Against UAB in a neutral site contest, Padilla landed her first goal of the season, then followed it up the next day with a two-goal performance against Hawai’i, for the Tigers’ first-ever victory at Hawai’i. In her final game of the season, Padilla landed her eighth goal minutes before going down with an injury. In the Big West Conference she finished sixth overall in shots, finished with the most shots per game in the Big West with a 3.75 average, fifth in points, second in points per game (1.5), fourth in goals and second in goals per game (0.67) as a freshman. At the conclusion of the 2009 season, Padilla’s all-conference nod was topped when her name landed on the NSCAA Second Team All-West Region list.
Maricela joined the Tigers after enjoying one of the most prolific high school careers in Del Mar history. A scoring threat from all angles on the field, Padilla finished her senior year with 28 goals to lead the Dons in scoring for the third straight year. Additionally, Padilla made a point of distributing the ball as well, notching eight assists for a team-high 64 points. As a junior, Padilla scored 12 goals in the first six games to lead the Dons to a 5-0-1 mark to start the season. However, a knee injury sidelined her for the remainder of the year. The year prior, Padilla posted 41 goals and 13 assists as a sophomore, leading the Dons to a 16-2-2 overall record and the BVAL-STAL League Championship. For her play, Padilla was named the league’s player of the year and MVP her senior season.
Maricela spent several seasons playing for the Mexican National Teams during high school, including both the Mexican U-17 team and the Mexican Senior Team. A member of the U-17 team since the age of 14, Padilla participated in and captained the team at the CONCACAF Under-17 Women’s Championship Tournament in Trinidad & Tobago in July of 2008. This past summer, Padilla was called up to the senior national team where she competed with current teammate Angelica Figueroa.
On the club level, Padilla served as an integral part of the Mustang Mavericks success since from 2005 to 2008. As a Mustang, Padilla led her team to championships at Surf Cup (2008), the Far West Regional League Spring championship (2008) and the Nor Cal State tournament (2007 and 2008). Additionally, the Mavericks made it to the quarterfinals of the Far West Regional in each of her last two seasons with the team.
Born in San Jose, Calif., she is the daughter of Andres and Monique Padilla. Maricela has five siblings: Marisol, Patty, Andrea, Jesus and Carmen, the Tigers’ assistant coach. She is a Sport Management major.