By Davey McEliece, Sports Information Assistant
At the annual pre-season meeting for the Caltech soccer squad, athletic director Betsy Mitchell said one word more than any other: momentum. The sports program as a whole is on the rise, and she sees soccer as another piece in that puzzle.
To continue that momentum the Beavers will be counting on their veteran leadership. Co-captains Marec Serlin and Thomas Kwok, along with the other 12 returning players hope to provide guidance and stability for the younger players.
Kwok, at midfield, provides stability on the field as well as off it. "He's a versatile player. You know what you'll get from in on any given day" says head coach Rolo Uribe. Serlin, another midfielder, provides scoring, as he is one of the two returning goal scorers for Caltech this season.
The other returning scorer for the Beavers is Alec Sands, who as a first-year had both a goal and an assist for the Beavers in 2012. Heading into this season, Uribe expects even more from Alec. "Alec has a great feel for the game, and you combine that with the speed he has and you're gonna get some goals out of him without a question."
Uribe has been thinking about how to best utilize his squad. He may consider putting Serlin's scoring punch closer to the goal this season, playing him more minutes at forward. Whatever his decision, he's confident the team will be able to find a good rhythm during the season. "We have a lot of depth at the midfield and forward this year, so we'll be able to mix and match, see which lineups work well together. It's going to be a fun year."
A lot of that depth is coming from incoming players — the ones Mitchell is counting on to continue to build the Caltech's athletic program's momentum, coach Uribe was similarly one-word-minded. But it wasn't momentum he spoke of, but, instead — "Talent!" he shouted when the topic of next season first came up, "talent!"
With 12 incoming freshmen and a number of other first year players there will be plenty of competition for time on the field. But coach is confident there are a number of newcomers who have a "real shot" at seeing substantial minutes.
One of these players is Evren Gocken. Gocken played for one of the top high school teams in the country, Gahanna Lincoln, and will bring that winning spirit to the team.
Goalkeeper, one of the most important and challenging positions on the field, will also be filled by a first-year — J.D. Feist. An all-district player in high school, he is ready for the challenge in Uribe's eyes. "Listen, he's athletic and obviously a hard worker. He may have a learning curve, but he'll get there."
With these young players being added to the mix of returners one can see why both the coach and the athletic director are excited for a new season.
Some big chances to get a win will come against La Verne, a team which Caltech lost to by only one goal in each of their two matches last year (both matches finished 2-1 in favor of La Verne). They will face them at La Verne on September 18 and at home on October 12—a game Caltech fans will not want to miss. Another rival, Cal Lutheran, who Caltech brought to the brink in 2012 (the Beavers lost a tough game in overtime), will be at Caltech on September 28, another game to watch. They play Cal Lutheran in an away game on October 28.
August 31 is opening day, a home game against Cal State San Marcos, and Uribe and the rest of the Caltech soccer squad are hoping that, in addition to their talent, the fans will be out, rooting for the continuation of the Beaver's momentum.
Coach Uribe Quick Q&A for the Season --