“After that game, I just told them – I told them two main things: I said I’m sorry, because I think you guys deserve more and sometimes this game is cruel; and I said thank you, because you guys all bought in. It was a special experience.”
That was the message Coe Michaelson, head coach of men’s soccer, imparted to his team following a 1-0 loss to California Polytechnic University, Pomona in the 3rd round of the NCAA playoffs.
The Lancers finished the year with 17 wins, two draws, and only one loss – a loss that brought the Lancers’ historic season to a painful end in which California Baptist University outshot their opponent 26-6.
“I don’t think any team in the West has gone through the regular season undefeated as long as I’ve been doing this 10- plus years,” Michaelson said. “We recognize that’s special and treasure that, but there is still that lingering feeling of sadness that it ended before maybe we feel it should have.”
After returning from the NCAA tournament, Michaelson said he couldn’t just sit around so he started preparations for next year.
That included setting their sights on the Western Athletic Conference.
This week, the schedule for the men’s soccer team is a microcosm of the current mindset of the program.
“We’re meeting with all our guys this week,” Michaelson said. “And then we’ll have a team meeting where we’ll set out our goals for next year and say ‘that (2018) season starts now.’”
“They were a really tight knit group, from seniors to freshman,” Michaelson said. “In terms of the culture that we want to have, I hope that has been drilled into these younger guys now where they go, ‘Okay this is a winning culture. This is a fun experience. This is a special experience, and now we have got to carry that forward.’”
Cobi Hunt, senior business administration major and defender, said the foundation of this unity was built when the team took a pre-season trip to Mexico.
“From going straight to Mexico, the original reaction to (the season) was great. I knew it was going to set up for a great season and we were going to do great things and we ended up having a great season,” Hunt said. “I’ll always have great thoughts about this year.”
As for next year, Hunt said he doesn’t think his team will be slowing down even after he graduates.
“They’re going to continue to do great things. They are going to move on to the Western Athletic Conference and I think they’re going to continue having their success for years,” Hunt said. “The young group is very talented and they’re only going to bring in more younger and better players each year.”