In an interview earlier this season, the UCI Men’s Soccer team said that this year they were “here to play,” and they have proved once again that this year is the year of the Anteater.
Their game on Friday, October 11, was just another example of the men’s determination. The game against Cal Poly was not going to be an easy one, as the Mustangs had control of the ball for a large portion of the game. Despite their control of the ball, Cal Poly was unsuccessful in their 12 attempts on goalkeeper Michael Breslin. Breslin’s line of defense had command of this game even without some of their key defensive players who were ineligible to play due to receiving red cards at the last game. Coach Kuntz said, “This was a tactical game. We had to play more tactical because of the way [Cal Poly] plays. We give credit to the back line. We wanted to make it hard for them [Cal Poly] to play through the middle. We’ve been working on all week just cutting off channels.” The Anteaters were successful in accomplishing that goal.
They started off the first half with a goal in the first six minutes of playing time by Cameron Iwasa. Mats Bjurman set him up for the header off of a free-kick. After the goal, the ‘Eaters strengthened their defense to keep the Mustangs from having successful shots on goal.
The Anteaters came out in the second half with the same determination as the first. They scored their second goal from Mitchell Alvarez who was fed the ball by his teammates Enrique Cardenas and Lester Hayes III. The goal was met by a dog pile style celebration on Alvarez.
Shortly after the goal, Enrique Cardenas was kicked in the Achilles tendon by Kody Wakasa on Cal Poly who received a yellow card, and was forced to sit out for ten minutes until he was able to return for the last 8 minutes of the game.
Following the second goal by the ‘Eaters, the game continued in the style of UCI’s defensive line being an impenetrable force. The amount of work that the team has poured into strengthening their back line is clearly apparent this season.
What is making this year’s team such contenders? They’ve dominated in the last several games and during the summer tournaments. The chemistry on the field is tangibly very different then previous years.
Coach Kuntz attributes this to the overall personality of the team. “This is a young team that is growing each game. Getting better and learning from their experience,” Coach Kuntz said.
Here’s to hoping that the other teams are learning from their experiences and learning that this year, UCI is here to dominate.