by Aaron Hughes | Staff Writer
The CSUSB women’s soccer team is undefeated at home this season.
The Lady Coyotes have racked up an impressive four wins and one tie at home so far.
“We’re really hard to beat at home,” said Head Coach Travis Clarke. “It’s hot out here and our field is huge.”
The maximum width allowed for an international soccer match is 80 yards, which is the same size as the Coyotes home field.
Despite being undefeated at home, the Coyotes still lost five of their first 10 games, all of which have come away from San Bernardino.
The Lady Coyotes are hopeful they can keep their winning record at home from going and know that the heat and their fitness has been the key to their success so far.
The Coyotes are the only team in the conference with a field that has an 80-yard width which really expands the playing field and teams are forced to run side-to-side not just up and down the field.
Clarke believes it gives the team an advantage at home because other teams are not used to the spacing between players, not to mention other teams may not be as well condition as the Lady Coyotes.
The differences in the fields have also put the ‘Yotes at a disadvantage on the road however.
“Every field we play on is completely different. Pomona’s field for example is a little smaller in the middle of a track, about 63 yards wide,” said Clarke. “We are not used to playing so narrow.”
The team had high expectations after last season where they made so much progress but started out slow by going 0-5-1 in conference play. All five losses were on the road.
“We had some bad luck at the beginning of the season, two unfortunate red cards in early games and a string of injuries to some pretty key players,” said Clarke.
The amount of traveling the team has done has taken it’s toll as well.
The team traveled from Pomona, to San Francisco, to Los Angeles and finally to La Jolla in a matter of nine days.
According to Clarke, that travel may have taken too much of a toll as the team went 0-4 during that stretch. But Clarke also recognizes the talent of the other teams played a very big roll in the team’s stuggles.
The California Collegiate Athletic Association is regarded as one of the toughest divisions in the country, and playing away from home is highly difficult.
“Every team in our conference is good. This is the most competitive soccer conference in the country,” said Clarke. “The reality is that you’re not likely to win many of your away games and you expect to win all of your home games.”
With the majority of the Coyotes road games now behind them, Clarke is confident that things will turn around soon.
Six wins could lead to a conference berth which happens to be the amount of home games the Lady Coyotes have remaining.
If the home hot-streak continues, the team could be back in the playoffs where they want to be. Clarke is taking it one game at a time, however.
“We still have six games at home this season. Our main goal right now is continuing to play good soccer,” said Clarke. “I want to see us get better every week. We’ve gone through a rough patch but I want us to keep our heads up and fight through.”
While the Coyotes have started the season unbeaten at home, the team is still trying to pick up positive results on the road. With a little luck and hard work, it’s still possible that they can better last year’s 10 wins.