Expectations run high for the first home game of the season against undefeated #3 Cal State Los Angeles on October 17, 2019. In Coach Darren Leslie’s 4th year, things are clicking for the Coyotes as they were ranked as high as #13 in the nation. Thursday’s home game will be a chance for the Coyotes to prove they are a legit contender in the California Collegiate Athletic Association(CCAA).
In Leslie’s previous three years the Coyotes are 30-20-3, with 2018 being their most impressive, 12-6-1. Coach Leslie and the team are coming off a banner year in which Leslie took home Coach of the year in the CCAA, and leading scorer Danny Ortiz took home player of the year.
The team is trying to build upon a winning conference record the last three years under Coach Leslie. The Coyotes are currently 7-1-1 and have big goals for the rest of the season, including making the NCAA tournament.
“We had a good year last year, finishing 4th in conference and making the semifinals of the CCAA championships; our goal is to make the NCAA tournament, something we haven’t done in 10 years,” Coach Leslie said.
Though the Coyotes lost their top two goal scorers from last season, including CCAA Player of the year Danny Ortiz, Johnathan Garcia and Pedro Arellano have picked up the slack with 18 points combined. The team has more depth and is more well rounded on defense giving up only 6 goals in 9 games. The Coyotes already have 6 shutouts, 3 shy of the school record, only halfway into the season
“Losing the conference player of the year is hard to replace but several guys have stepped up in that role, Our defense has been real solid this year and our offense is coming together”, said Coach Leslie.
The team is led by 4-year starter Jacob Huber. Huber the team’s starting goalkeeper, has played in almost every minute during his four-year career. Not only is Huber the last line of defense, but he is also the team’s unquestioned leader. Huber’s leadership has been appreciated this year as the Coyotes have had to rely on mostly Freshman and Sophomores.
“Jacob has been huge for us, him being one of the leaders and him having played in two conference semifinals has been big for us,” Coach Leslie said.
The Coyotes, who are seeking their first NCAA appearance in 10 years, believe they can beat anyone.
“With the talent we have I truly believe we can finish out the season without losing a game the rest of the way,” said midfielder Andres Aguirre.
The Coyotes have big goals for the year, including winning the conference championship. The Coyotes are looking to build upon an improving program, hoping to take the program to new heights. The team has 6 straight home games and one more away game before the Conference Tournament.
Players to watch:
Jacob Huber, Sr. Goalkeeper
Jonathan Garcia, Sr. Midfielder
Pedro Arellano, R.S Soph, Forward
Jesus Ortega, Sr. Forward
Gerardo Flores, Fr. F