Sept. 1, 2014
Sixth in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference preseason poll, the mountain lions men’s soccer team wants to finish higher when it counts.
As preseason ends, the team aims to capitalize on their leadership and talent this year. The taste of last season’s penalty kick defeat to Colorado Mesa in the RMAC tournament quarterfinal still lingers.
Though defeated, individuals garnered recognition last season. Senior James Roberts was named a member of the Daktronics and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America All- South Central Region team and junior Sebastian Hertzberg was named a member of the All- RMAC third team.
“Even though they ranked us pretty low for the beginning of the season, I feel we can finish the season at the top,” said Roberts. “Our goal is to win the RMAC. Individually I want to be an All-American.”
“I feel as a team we deserve to win the RMAC this time,” said Hertzberg. “It’s been a long time coming.” Roberts and Hertzberg both earned preseason All-RMAC honors this season and this season’s roster includes nine new freshmen.
“All nine of our freshmen are on scholarship,” said head coach Johnnie Keen. “This is the first time we’ve been able to do that. They are all invested and we’re invested in them.” The Mountain Lions will have nine returning seniors. But the team eels that adding pressure to succeed doesn’t help.
“Definitely not,” said Keen.“We did an extra push last year and felt it was counterproductive. We want to take it game by game.”
“We have a lot of people who have stayed here over the years and it seems like the last chance to do something great,” said Roberts. “There’s some pressure but we should be fine.”
The team will travel to South Carolina to play their final preseason tune-ups.
“Were looking to make a big trip to South Carolina, where we get to play a strong division II team, Francis Marion, and a professional team, Charleston Battery,” said Keen. “That’s where we’ll have a lot of questions answered.”
The UCCS men’s soccer team hosts their first home game against Hawaii Pacific on Sept. 5 at 7 p.m. at Mountain Lion Stadium