by Rosie Sinapi
The Leo soccer teams are gearing up for another season. Leading the teams are Head Coaches Wendy Zwissler and Owen Wright. Both are hoping to leave off from last year’s seasons, when both teams finished fourth place in conference.
While perennial powerhouses Cal Lutheran, Claremont, and Occidental are still factors, both teams are excited about probable progress this season.
Zwissler’s women’s team finished 5-7, conference, and 10-8, overall behind Cal Lu, Claremont and Oxy.
“We want to maintain and better our record from last year,” said Zwissler.
Last year was the first season that the team finished over .500. Zwissler believes this can be accomplished again through a total team effort.
Zwissler believes there are no stars on her team. She considers the whole team a star.
“Fifteen girls will follow down the field as a team,” said Zwissler.
The team consists of returners and five new players. Leading the team will be senior goalie Myrna Alvarez. Alvarez finished her first season playing organized soccer with 37 saves.
Likewise, junior forward Wendy Rockenbaugh will play a decisive role. She is the only third year player on the team.
The team believes in a three word philosophy. Zwissler says “vision,” “cooperation” and “tolerance” will be their key to success.
The philosophy worked in the Trinity University Tournament over Labor Day weekend.
The Leos beat Southwestern Texas 3-0. They suffered a loss to sixth ranked Trinity University, 3-2.
Despite the loss, Zwissler feels the team competed well.
“Trinity is ranked number six (in national polls) and we lost to them in the final four minutes,” said she. “We have some obvious strengths.”
Though they have not had the chance to display themselves on the field as of yet, Wright believes they will also maintain last year’s record.
Last year the team finished 4-6 in conference, and 9-9-1 overall. Wright is considering this a rebuilding season after losing most of last year’s players.
“It’ll take time. We’ll have a rebuilding year and it may be a little shaky, but the fans need to be patient and let us mature,” said Wright.
The team lost most of its starters. Three players are on academic probation. Rusty Smith, last year’s prolific goal scorer, suffered several problems due to a mid-summer auto accident.
Wright is looking toward the four returning starters to pull the team together. Matt Robles, goalie, will need to maintain his statistics. Robles provided several game saving saves last year. Likewise, Wright is relying on Aaron Jones to continue leading the team with assists.
Returning Leos will have 13 new faces to lead. According to Wright, several of the new players will play a dominant part on the team.
Freshman Dom Przybylski will lead the midfielders. The native San Dimas resident is one of several players recruited by Wright. He hopes the new players will quickly develop.
Wright is concerned with organizing a team attitude in the players and utilizing their skills as best as possible, leading to a good season this year and better seasons in the future.
Helping Wright again this year will be returning assistant coaches Mike Collins and Brian Lewis.
Collins and Lewis are helping in working ball technique and shooting skills. Wright believes this is the first step toward rebuilding the team.
Wright’s next step for the season is tactical play. He wants to develop those players new and old.
The men will start their season tomorrow at Whittier.