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Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State men’s soccer team season recap

Matt Hurlow sends a shot flying during a game earlier this season. Photo credit: John Domogma

Chico State’s men’s soccer team will miss the playoffs for the first time in five years.

The men’s soccer team finished eighth in the California Collegiate Athletic Association standings, with a 3-6-2 conference record and an 8-6-3 overall record. It was only the second in head men’s soccer Coach Felipe Restrepo’s seven-year tenure that Chico State hasn’t reached the playoffs.

The Wildcats started the season strong, going 4-0-1 in their first five games. However, the team’s lack of experience showed when it started conference play with a four-game losing streak.

“I knew we were going to have some adversity being so young and inexperienced,” Restrepo said. “You can’t win in our conference unless you’re older and an experienced team, that’s just the way it is from top to bottom. So when you probably got the youngest, least experienced team, (there’s) going to be hard (moments). And we did, towards the middle of the season against the top teams.”

Against teams in the CCAA, the Wildcats struggled to find the back of the net. They failed to score in four of their six losses in the conference.

“I think at the end of the day if you kind of thought about the adversity and what were the contributing factors to that, I think there was some hard luck and the inexperience in some of the pressure moments was difficult to overcome,” Restrepo said.

Despite having difficulties scoring, the team was able to stay competitive, losing most of their games by only one point.

Besides senior defender Michael Janjigian — who returned this season from an injury — the team did not have another player familiar some of the high-pressure moments, Restrepo said.

With the 2014 season now behind the team, Restrepo and his squad are planning to make some modifications during the offseason that will help them fair better next fall.

“We’ll adjust some of the technical stuff, some of the guys,” he said. “It’s a lot of individual skill work.”

He said he also wants to put an emphasis on conditioning and weight room time to help some of the younger players put on muscle.

Besides working on the returning freshmen, he is planning on recruiting new players to make sure the team will stay loaded with talent, Restrepo said.

He is also looking forward to watching some of the returning players take on the role of leaders, he said.

“I think those guys will emerge as leaders now that they’re not freshman and having experienced it,” Restrepo said. “I feel like we’re in good shape, it’s exciting. I got here at 8:30 in the morning after our season. I’m ready to go.”

Restrepo is not alone with his outlook for next season.

Freshman forward Sasha Peranteau said he is also ready to put this season behind him and work on what is to come next fall.

“It is a little frustrating of course, no matter what season it was,” Peranteau said. “Not making the playoffs always feels like you have come up short. But as a freshman, I accumulated enough experience this year to know where to make adjustments for next season to ensure that we make it to the playoffs next year.”

Restrepo said that even with the disappointing ending to the season, he is proud of his team, particularly the seniors who are leaving.

“I’m just really proud of the seniors and representing the program and doing what they could for us and I don’t want to minimize that,” he said. “These guys get into their senior year having to put years of hard work with us, and that’s something to be proud of.”

Jose Olivar can be reached at [email protected] or @jpu_olivar on Twitter.

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