California Baptist University men’s soccer is sitting on the sixth rank of Western Athletic Conference standings going into its last match of the season against Utah Valley University, April 9.
A win against Utah Valley can mean a promotion in the conference standings as there is only a one-point difference between the Lancers and third-place San Jose State University.
San Jose is currently in third with 14 points, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas is fourth also with 14 points, losing to San Jose in goal difference. Seattle University is in fifth with 13 points, and CBU is in sixth also with 13 points ,but it has fewer goal differences than Seattle U.
The Lancers started the season strong with a 4-0-2 record.
“The first four games we played very well, but then we went on a trip to Grand Canyon University and UNLV and we played very bad,” said Bryan Iliohan, sophomore business administration major and striker. “I felt like we didn’t prepare enough for the games.”
The Lancers suffered three consecutive losses against GCU, UNLV and San Jose. They managed to go back to the winning column when they won against Seattle U at Irvine, Calif. on March 31.
“At (Seattle U) we were able to turn it around a bit with a gutsy 1-0 win at home that we hope will bring momentum into these last two games against two difficult away games,” said Gage Rogers, goalie and master’s student in the information technology management program.
They fell short in making it a reality when they lost April 5 to Air Force Academy.
“I think we are missing a sense of togetherness at times, with us having the quality to beat any team in the country, let alone the WAC,” Rogers said. “Just having the blue-collar mentality is lacking.”
Coe Michaelson, head coach of men’s soccer, said the location itself was challenging for the Lancers.
Air Force is located in Colorado Springs, 6,000 feet above sea level, making breathing a little harder for athletes who are not used to the change in elevation.
“Right now all we can ask for is for the guys to get themselves as recovered as possible and show what their character is on Friday,” Michaelson said.
Rogers said the team is looking to improve its finishing position and cap off the season with a win when they travel to Utah Valley on April 9.