The California Baptist University men’s soccer team is earning national recognition by climbing up the United Soccer Coaches National Top-25 Poll to a fifth-place ranking.
Ranked third in the nation in goals per game and 12th in goals allowed per game, the Lancers are 10-0-2 and are showing no signs of slowing down.
“Ultimately our goals go far beyond our rankings,” said Coe Michaelson, head coach of men’s soccer. “So let’s not get distracted from our goals by things that don’t matter quite as much.”
“For us that’s winning a conference championship, that’s making the national tournament, that’s contending for a national title. You don’t have to be nationally ranked to achieve any of those goals. For us, being ranked is a natural byproduct of doing well in those pursuits; it was all about staying focused on our goals.” Michaelson said.
The Lancers have been dealing with injuries since early in the season and hope to be back to full – strength in the near future. However, Michaelson praised his team’s depth.
“We’ve got a really talented squad from front to back and we’ve got guys off the bench who are able to come in and keep the level high,” Michaelson said.
With just six conference games remaining, Preston Judd, freshman kinesiology major and forward, said his team is preparing for a late-season run.
“We haven’t really peaked yet. We need to peak at the end of the season,” Judd said. “We need to keep scoring goals. We also need to get more shutouts.”
Hugo Gutierrez, senior criminal justice major and midfielder, said the team focuses more on the next game than on the national rankings.
“( Coach Michaelson) makes us aware that we’re in such a high position and to always stay humble and just worry about the next game,” Gutierrez said. “Just staying focused in practice is such a big thing. Not losing that hunger and desire to win games and beat teams,”
Gutierrez said. “We all push each other were all close and that just makes us family.”
Judd noted that the strong team bond is a part of what makes this team special.
“If you look at us as a team, we have a great chemistry together,” Judd said. “We’re all great friends, so I think that will help out in the long run.”
Michaelson added that the pressure of being unbeaten has not affected the team.
“If your focus is win the next game instead of going undefeated, then your task isn’t really that daunting,” Michaelson said.