Coaches and players from HSU’s volleyball, cross country and soccer teams spoke about the upcoming season
The fall sports season is almost underway here on the North Coast and head coaches and select players from Humboldt State’s volleyball, cross-country and soccer teams were in the press room at Lumberjack Arena to discuss their upcoming season.
They talked about their previous season of play, along with their expectations and strategy against their opponents. The mood in the room was hopeful and optimistic as each sport has its entire upcoming season around the corner.
Lumberjack volleyball started their 2019 season on September 6th at the Toro Classic in Carson, CA on the campus of Cal State Dominguez Hills. After a winless 2018 conference play season, the volleyball team finished with an overall record of 3-23. Head Coach Kelly Wood is determined to change the dynamic going into this season.
“We don’t want to go through that again, we don’t want to end on another losing streak,” Wood said. “They worked really hard on the basics again, serving and passing and all that, but also are having a lot of tough and difficult conversations.”
Despite past struggles, Wood seemed hopeful with the group of players that she has going into the 2019 season.
“I just think we’re all on the same page, and we all have a little more faith and a little more trust in one another,” Wood said.
While all other sports start out on the road, the men’s and women’s cross country teams start their season at home. The Humboldt Invitational was on September 6th Baywood Golf and Country Club in Arcata.
Head Coach Jamey Harris talked about the advantage of being at home and knowing the course better than the visiting competitors.
“Knowing how to run fast on some of the more difficult parts and how to measure your effort through it should be helpful both this weekend and through the season,” Harris said. “We love getting out there and knowing our first meet is going to be at home on our own course,”
“We’re looking forward to showcasing what we’ve got, and hopefully the Arcata running community will get excited,” Harris said.
Senior runner Joseph Shanahan also went up to the podium and talked about his experience running the Baywood course.
“For me, it was a relatively difficult course,” Shanahan said. “There’s a big hill and a pretty gradual uphill, and you’re either going up or going down.”
The HSU women’s soccer team finished with a record of 6-9-2 last season, but the record was mostly attributed to playing in the very competitive CCAA conference. Head Coach Paul Karver knows what the team needs to do to win, but he also understands what the team is up against in CCAA play.
“They’re really dedicated to making that push, and we have the players that can get it done,” Karver said. “Unfortunately, everyone else in the conference does, and we play in the best conference in the country.”
Karver talked about the preseason practices being very competitive, and with a smaller roster than usual more players will get a chance to play during the season.
“We have a lot of high soccer-IQ kids, and that’s going to allow us to move things around,” Karver said. “It has made training every single day competitive, it made it really fun and it’s a really fun group to be around.”
The HSU men’s soccer team came off a 2018 season finishing 7-8-2, but the good news is they return with a good core group of players from last year, along with some bright new prospects. One of the experienced returners, senior goalkeeper Robert Quintero, mentioned how a skilled and fast team made him hopeful.
“I think we’re strong both offensively and defensively,” Quintero said. “Offensively we have some of the fastest guys on top, and they can put the ball in the back of the net.”
Head Coach Fred Jungemann talked about the team’s goals. For example, trying to make the CCAA conference tournament and win more games than last year. Building a strong culture for HSU soccer and having guys who mesh well together was another big emphasis.
“There’s a really good group of guys, not just on the field but their personalities fit together very well,” Jungemann said. “One of our biggest strengths is that we have a close-knit group of guys that enjoy being together, not just on the field but off the field.”