Wayland men's soccer adds depth, looks to make more noise in SAC - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

Wayland men's soccer adds depth, looks to make more noise in SAC

Source: KCBD Source: KCBD
LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) -

After a rough ending to a tough 2015 season, the Wayland Baptist men’s soccer team is looking to bounce back in 2016 with more depth at every position and turn last season’s losses to victories.

“We didn’t have the results we were expecting (last year), but this season we have to turn those results around,” third-year head coach Cristhian Ospina said. “They need to be mentally ready for what is coming this season.”

The Pioneers, who finished last season with an overall record of 7-8-2, including 3-6 in the Sooner Athletic Conference, are predicted to finish fifth in the SAC’s pre-season poll after losing a few key players, including leading scorer Arturo Sardaneta-Valle and goalkeeper Palemon Plancarte. A heavy recruiting class fused with returners makes the team very flexible, but difficult for Ospina to pick his starting unit.

“It’s going to be really tough to pick a top 11,” Ospina said. “I’d rather have a problem of having too many good players than not having enough. I’m blessed to have a competitive team.”

With the vacancy left by Plancarte, two goalkeepers – junior Joaoa Souza and freshman Luke Holt – are competing for the starting position. However, Ospina believes there is an opportunity for both keepers to get some time in front of the net.

“They both have a chance to start,” the coach said.

Another key for Ospina is his coaching staff. Filled with two of his former teammates, Miguel Teos and John Ramses-Thomas, along with a new graduate assistant from Northwest College, Dean Johnson, Ospina knows he is fortunate to receive help from friends who are like-minded when it comes to the game.

“I’m really thankful to be working with these guys,” he said.  “Even though they are really young, they are amazing at what they do. As a head coach, I have to take advantage of having them here.”

The Pioneers open their season 5:30 p.m. Thursday against Eastern New Mexico in Portales, N.M. WBU has won three of the last four meetings with the Greyhounds, with a tie coming last season, 1-1.

Wayland’s home-opener is 2:30 p.m. Sunday against Howard Payne. The Pioneers last played the Yellow Jackets in 2014 and defeated HPU, 3-1.

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