Men’s and women’s soccer look to capture their first wins as they prepare for PacWest play
The 2016 PacWest conference champions are seeking their fourth conference trophy in the past five years. The Azusa Pacific women’s soccer team have already been in preseason play, but will begin regular conference play later this week.
The team received 10 out of 14 votes by the coaches of the conference to win the conference again this year.
Earlier this summer, the team experienced a sudden coaching change with head coach Jason Surrell stepping away from the soccer program. Don Lawrence, who was a former Azusa Pacific men’s soccer coach stepped in as the interim head coach.
“It was a little bit of a shock and a struggle at first, but I think after getting to know them and as the season has progressed, I think it’s opened my eyes not only to their knowledge of the game but also them instilling more knowledge to me that I might not have known,” senior defender Haley Patterson said.
Lawrence hopes that the team can stay positive throughout the season and continue to play with heart, despite their preseason record.
“We’ve found that we’ve done a tremendous amount of teaching on technical and tactical stuff,” Lawrence said. “I hope the girls don’t lose heart because we have been playing well.”
The team is 0-3 after preseason play on the road, losing two of the three games in heartbreaking overtime play.
“We have so much talent. I think we’re just missing one element that we need to bring us together,” Patterson said. “We’re really good at starting games and getting that first goal, but I think we get a little too relaxed.”
Transitioning into conference play, the women’s soccer team knows what they have to do in order to be back in winning form.
“I have never met a group of young ladies that are as driven as they are. I hope that they don’t get too discouraged and start plugging away at getting better and better,” Lawrence said. “It would be nice to be PacWest champions once again, but we have to take it one game at a time, and we have to take it moment by moment.”
The women’s soccer team begins PacWest conference play this week on the road, taking on Point Loma on Thursday, Sept. 21.
After finishing PacWest play with a record of 6-5-2, the Azusa Pacific men’s soccer team is hungry for capturing the conference title and more this 2017 season. Preseason voting placed the Cougars tied with Notre Dame de Namur to finish fifth in the conference. The team is led by five seniors, with 12 newcomers.
The Cougars stand 0-4 after preseason play with two of the four games being determined in overtime.
“We did have a rough start, but the results did not tell the whole story of how those games were. The results weren’t there but the performances were positive,” redshirt freshman mid-fielder, Justin Glaser said.
The team will also kick off conference play with their first match-up being on the road against the Point Loma Sea Lions on Sept. 21.
“We have been focusing on our mistakes fixing those, and then taking positives and building on them,” Glaser said. “We are sure results will pick up the way we are playing.”