By Ray Hamill — With both teams showing steady improvement and building momentum over the past three years, Humboldt State soccer will be hoping to achieve something this fall that it has not managed since 2006.
Namely, see both teams post a winning record.
Even one would be well received by a pair of programs that have struggled to compete over the past decade, managing just one winning each dating all the way back to 2006.
HSU fans, however, have reason to believe that could very well change this fall, with both teams gradually improving over the past few years and eager to continue that trend.
The women’s team, which did have a winning record three years ago, has a lot of new players this season after finishing 7-9-1 in 2017.
And head coach Paul Karver likes what he’s seen so far.
“We’ve got 10 new players and we’re coming off a very successful spring,” Karver said, adding that “the girls have been fantastic,” and that he expects they will continue to improve.
After managing less than a goal a game last season, attacking was the priority in the spring, and Karver will be hoping to see that pay off now that the season is here.
Early indications are positive, with the HSU women netting twice in an exhibition win over Corban on Tuesday, although they also left several chances on the field.
Competition within the squad will also help the Jacks this season, and Karver expects plenty of it.
“What’s fun right now is that there’s heavy, heavy competition at all positions,” he said. “So we’re looking at a lot of different things.”
That competition includes between the posts where there are currently four players vying for the start, and, according to the coach, “all four could start.”
Sophomore Sabine Posma out of Washington returns in midfield after a stellar debut season in 2017, while up front, senior Alex Jenkins is back after netting a team-high seven goals a year ago.
“A powerhouse in front of goal,” is how Karver described the senior striker, adding that Posma was “definitely one of the better players in conference as a freshman, and now has the opportunity to score some goals.”
She came close in Tuesday’s exhibition win with a rocket of a shot off the crossbar, and she was involved in both goals.
Jenkins also got the season off to a good start, netting the second of HSU’s goals.
Sophomore forward Erin Siegel is another player the coach is expecting big things out of this season.
“The pieces are there,” Karver said.
HSU men feature plenty of depth
The HSU men, meanwhile, have not had a winning record since 2014, and will be hoping to buck that trend after seeing improvement in each of the past two years, finishing a respectable 8-8 a year ago.
The men will host Oregon Tech in a scrimmage at College Creek Field on Thursday afternoon and will open the season for real at home to Holy Names on Aug. 30.
This year’s squad is relatively young with seven freshmen and six sophomores on the roster.
Like Karver, however, men’s head coach Fred Jungemann believes he has plenty of depth and competition for places.
“We have some new players that are doing very well, we have a lot of returners that are performing well, there’s a lot of depth, we have a lot of guys that can adapt and play different positions and adjust,” Jungemann said. “And the mentality in practice has been great with a lot of enthusiasm, and the culture and camaraderie of the team has been very good.”
And like with the women’s team, the men also feature a wide-open competition in goal, with three players in the mix.
Today’s scrimmage is scheduled for 5 p.m.