by Jake Knoeller
Soccer is back at Cal Poly Humboldt. After a long offseason of preparation for both the men’s and women’s teams, they are back for three preseason exhibition matches each. On Aug. 25, the two teams will take to the field for their first official matches of the 2022 fall season. The men’s team will face Northwest Nazarene University at College Creek Field at 3 p.m., while the women’s team will travel to Ramirez Field in Fresno to face Fresno Pacific University. Last season both teams showed a lot of potential, which has led to suspense surrounding the upcoming season. The players themselves are also excited to be back on the field.
The men have three senior captains, with no shortage of experience playing under pressure at College Creek or anywhere away from home. Midfielder Devin Hauenstein believes that their team chemistry and togetherness will be a strength this season.
“Over our captains’ camp, the team was able to connect and build strong relationships with each other so that we’re stronger out here on the field,” Hauenstein said.
There is plenty of room to do even better, and defender Dylan Tovani spoke about what he thinks will bring the team up another level.
“We need to get on the finishing touches at the end when we’re looking to score more goals. We did pretty well last season with our shutouts and keeping the ball out of the back of our net, but putting more in the back of the other team’s net is gonna benefit us more to win more games and push forward,” Tovani said.
The team was close to making the conference tournament last season, and midfielder Motoki Sato is confident that this is their year to do it.
“That’s almost an expectation, and if we just continue putting in the work I think we’re gonna be able to achieve it this year,” Sato said. With all their experience, these players know how to get ready for each game and give it their all.
The women’s team has a good amount of seniors on their team this year as well, and their leadership has the potential to lead this team to a successful season. Another helpful strength for this team is their depth. According to coach Grant Landy, they have spent preseason trying to figure out the right lineup.
“A lot of players have played, which is good,” Landy said. “It’s giving us a lot of information moving forward.”
The team has ideas for what they can do to take that next step and have a great season. Defender Abby Borg gained experience over the past two years and is on the field for her third season with the Jacks.
“I think we need to capitalize on when we do win that ball, looking to spread out wide and find those areas where if we’re stuck on the right side, get it to the left side,” Borg said. Borg is returning to the team after being out last season with an injury.
“My motivation this year is I’m back on the field so I wanna give it my all,” Borg added. While there are returners, there are also some younger players ready for the experience of playing at a college level. Jysabella Tolentino is a freshman from Moorpark, California playing forward this season.
“I think that here at Humboldt, we have amazing players and we’re off to a pretty good start and I cannot wait for the season ahead,” Tolentino said.
Both teams have lots of talent and dedication to the game of soccer, which is important on the field. The lead up to this season has been exciting. Now that it’s finally going to be here, we’ll see what kind of season the Lumberjacks have in store for everybody.