Men’s soccer misses playoffs for first time since 2007

The men’s soccer team finished its season on Nov. 11 against the San Joaquin Delta College Mustangs, losing 1-0.

The game was the fifth straight that the Hawks failed to win. They slipped to 8-9-3 and narrowly missed the playoffs.

“As a squad we fought hard together,” said freshman goalkeeper Demitri Fellines. “There was no quit in us, there was only bad luck, and unfortunately the bad luck added up and put us in a situation we never thought we would be in.”

The Hawks started the season with a potent offense, winning its first three out of four games.

However, the lack of tactical discipline, communication and timing resulted in several losses and ties. Out of its final 10 matches, the Hawks managed to win just three games.

“We need to change our culture and emphasize more fitness, more discipline,” said head coach Ron Preble.

Preble said that the team needs to focus more on the spaces between players and have better connectivity.

“The players need to become more disciplined about helping each other out on defense,” Preble said. “The technical ability of the player has improved but the tactical ability has gone backwards.”

One of the major changes that Preble emphasized at the start of the season was having more offensively explosive formations. However, the change did not always translate into wins.

“Every formation that we tried generated a little more offense for us,” Preble said. “However, our lack of tactical discipline put us in situations where we gave up goals.”

The Hawks finished in third place in the Big 8, behind American River College and Modesto Junior College. In conference play, CRC went 2-3-3, hurting its regional standing.

“I am surprised that we didn’t make playoffs because we are better than what our record shows,” said freshman defender Juan Navarro. “We practice hard and push ourselves but sometimes we can’t always have perfect games.”

In order to win games next season, the Hawks will need to improve its communication and teamwork.

“We missed goal opportunities and breakaway opportunities,” Fellines said. “We all sort of played at our own pace and you just can’t do that at this level. Everyone has to conform and play at the same pace as everyone else.”

Preble said that he will emphasize old-school fitness and discipline practices next season in order to get his players “ready to go and battle for games.”