The fall 2023 season is upon us, and the Leopards are ready to get back to competing. Here is how each team stacks up to start the year.
Football made some strides last season and feels more prepared this year for their first full season without COVID restrictions. Fans can expect a fast-paced offense that is explosive and will be physical in all facets of the game.
“Those are the two areas we really focus on in our style of play, try to be physical stopping the run and physical running the football,” head coach Chris Krich said.
The Leopards kick off the season at 7 p.m. Saturday at Ortmayer Stadium against Willamette University.
Volleyball is looking to build off of an impressive season last year that saw them in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament Semifinals. With sophomore All-American Honorable Mention outside and right side hitter Mya Ray and the bulk of their starting lineup returning, the Leopards are ready to make noise in the SCIAC again.
“They compete, they work hard, they’re good teammates, they have a really good energy on the floor, like it will be a fun team,” said head coach Jeff Hendershotsaid.
Volleyball’s season starts Friday at 3:15 p.m. at Frantz Athletic Court against Southwestern University.
Men’s Cross Country
Much like volleyball, men’s cross country is also coming off an impressive season and are poised to have another great year. Last year, the men finished third in the SCIAC, the highest in school history, and they were just ranked 35th in the nation as well as sixth in the West Region in the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
“We got a lot of people running more than they ever have and handling it pretty well, so now we’re kind of in the process of transitioning that fitness into being ready to race hard,” head coach Jamie Norton said.
Women’s Cross Country
As for women’s cross country, there are a lot of new faces on the team that will help them compete in the SCIAC.
“Last year we had a group that certainly was doing all the right stuff to be a great team, I think we built an amazing culture and laid a really good foundation,” Norton said.
Men’s and women’s cross country open their season on Saturday against Occidental and Pomona-Pitzer at the Pomona-Pitzer Tri-meet.
After reaching the conference tournament last year, men’s soccer is itching to get back on the field. The Leopards are looking to build off the confidence gained from last year’s tournament appearance, and some new additions along with the returning leadership will be sure to help them be more consistent.
“I think we have a little bit of those production pieces that we were missing offensively and defensively and I think we’re very balanced and a little bit more deeper than years past,” head coach Trevor Persson said.
Men’s soccer travels to Carroll University in Wisconsin for their opening day on at 1 p.m. Saturday against St. John’s University.
Women’s soccer has been working hard this offseason on the details of the game so they can hit the ground running this year.
“We’re trying to work together more in the middle of the field to really build out to go more attacking pieces,” junior midfielder Ana Preciado said.
The Leopards will be challenged right out of the gate with a tough preseason schedule that opens with a matchup at 4 p.m. Friday at Soka University of America.
Men’s Water Polo
Men’s water polo will be a young, defensive minded team that looks to shut down their opponents. The Leopards only have one senior this season and that is center Peter Trinh, but the returners have all taken part in being leaders for the new teammates.
“I think with how our lineup looks this year, I think we have a really good chance of being that countering team out on defense, making those defensive stops and countering out right away, capitalizing on our advantages from there,” Trinh said.
Men’s water polo opens their season at 1 p.m. Saturday at Las Flores Park.
Jack Janes can be reached at email@example.com.