The 2012 Kingsmen soccer team decided to step up their game this fall and start a slow but steady trend of winning. New off-season blue prints set a stronger foundation for a more prosperous season.
Returning players from last year’s team are the first to admit their 2011 season was far from successful. Frequent injuries and inexperience plagued the squad. The loss column marginally superseded the win column by a whopping 14 games.
Last year at this point in the season, the Kingsmen faced a dismal overall record of 1-11 while scoring eight goals in twelve games. While earning a 1-7 record in Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play, they found themselves trapped in last place by one game due to losses by every SCIAC team except one.
The Kingsmen find themselves in a slightly different position this year. With just seven conference match-ups left to play, the men’s soccer squad sits tied for sixth place after fighting for a 4-5 SCIAC record through Oct. 9. While the SCIAC road has been a tad bumpy in the past for the Kingsmen, they have beat many teams handily, tearing apart Chapman 5-1, La Verne 3-1 and Cal Tech 4-0.
Senior forward Raul Yepez has been the head of the scoring arsenal for the Kingsmen this season. Yepez has netted a team-high seven goals this season. His lengthy 1,092 minutes of play has proved his importance to his squad as well.
“At the beginning of the season I thought we were going to have a successful season,” said Yepez. “We have players that have talent. We have good chemistry and it is a matter of keeping the team together.”
The captain expressed with certainty that his team expects nothing less than a playoff spot come the end of the season.
“The goal is to make it to the top floor,” said Yepez. “We have a pretty good chance.”
Accompanying Yepez is sophomore Matt Hubbard. His extreme athletic ability and strength have earned him three goals, which mark him second on the team. He also holds the top shooting percentage on the team with .231.
“I do see myself as one of the key assets we have on our team, and luckily I still have two more years,” said Hubbard.
The sophomore stressed the influence of great team morale in order to win games more frequently.
“The team morale this year is up because of the tremendous group of players we have and the amount of success we’ve been having,” said Hubbard.
Peter Keks has brought the whole package together. The former football player provides intensity and determination to the squad. His two goals on the season compliment the team’s success.
Without any defense, there would be minimal offense. Juniors Ivan Sanchez, Bryce Truver and freshman Alex Wardle take that classic saying to heart. The powerfully swift backfield for the Kingsmen has helped balance the turf while dually providing a backbone for scoring.
Rey Rivera-Ramos quarterbacks the strong-legged defense and still proves to be valuable in the goalie box. After tallying up an impressive 68 saves during his 2011 Kingsmen campaign, Rivera-Ramos has proven to be as sturdy as ever with 43 saves to date. He is well on pace for another 60+ save season.
Cal Lutheran soccer is beginning to become relevant once again on campus, as well as around the SCIAC conference. The Kingsmen hope to make a push for the top spot in the SCIAC standings despite their sixth place position.
CLU continues on their quest for a winning season on Saturday, Oct. 20 when they take on Whittier at 7 p.m. at William Rolland Stadium.
Published Oct. 17, 2012