Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

CCAA title hopes on the horizon

A team works hard all season in order to be called champions. That is what the Chico State men’s soccer team will attempt to do next weekend.

The ’Cats clinched a playoff berth with its win over Cal State Dominguez Hills Saturday Oct. 25. Chico State will try to reach the California Collegiate Athletic Association championship for a third straight season.

In 2012, Chico State was ranked No. 2 and lost to No. 4 Cal State Stanislaus by a score of 3-2. And in 2011, Chico State was ranked No. 1 and lost in the championship game against No. 2 Cal State L.A. by two goals.

The ’Cats have looked impressive this season, with an overall record of 12-2-2. They have had nine shutout games and only allowed eight goals. The Wildcats’ defensive back line is an experienced group led by senior goalie Sam Evans, who has had a record-breaking season.

Evans broke the Chico State record for most wins as a goalkeeper earlier this season with his 31st victory against San Francisco State. He has only allowed three goals this season and has racked up 12 saves.

The defensive line’s experience has been the difference this season, said senior defender Jake Ward.

“Our three back line defenders played together all last year, which has helped this season,” Ward said. “And we’ve added some freshmen and transfers who have really helped the team.”

The ’Cats have a wealth of experience this year. There are 11 seniors on the team that have been to the championship game and know what it will take to win.

The team is wiser this season, said senior midfielder and forward Luis Martinez.

“We feel different this year compared to last year,” he said. “Everyone is a little bit smarter and wiser.”

Experience has been the main reason for success this season, said senior Octavio Guzman.

“Each year we’ve been getting closer and closer to that championship and that has made us grow as a team,” Guzman said. “We’ve been knocking on the door. This is our season.”

Guzman has had another impressive season with six assists so far and 16 points.

UC San Diego and Cal State Los Angeles are two teams who have defeated Chico this season. Both of them have also punched their ticket to the CCAA tournament and hope to become champions as well.

Chico will begin its run at the CCAA tournament Nov. 8 at Warrior Stadium in Turlock, Calif. They hope to advance to the NCAA Division II tournament and win that championship as well.


Sergio Sanchez can be reached at [email protected] or @sergechez on Twitter.

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