Soccer programs prepare for spring preseason


Matthew Nobert - The State Hornet

Sacramento State sophomore midfielder Christian Webb fights off UC Santa Barbara freshman defender Adrian Adames on Oct. 18 at Hornet Field. The men’s and women’s soccer programs will begin their spring preseason on March 3 and March 10, respectively, at Sac State.

Jose Gaglianone and Dominique Walker

After the announcement of their spring schedules on Jan. 23, the Sacramento State men’s and women’s soccer programs have started to practice and prepare.

The women’s team — which will compete in four games at home and three away — will play its first match against the Sacramento Storm on March 10 at Hornet Field.

The other games will be against St. Mary’s (away) and Humboldt State (away) on April 7, an alumni game (at home) on April 14, the University of the Pacific (at home) on April 15, Cal (away) on April 22 and Chico State (at home) on April 29.

“I’m really looking forward to playing St. Mary’s again and Chico State,” freshman forward Kylee Kim-Bustillos said after being named Big Sky Conference New Comer of the Year.

The preseason will offer the Hornets a chance to improve upon a 2017 season in which they went 8-8-4 (3-3-4 Big Sky) and fell 2-0 in the first round of the Big Sky Tournament to Northern Colorado on Nov. 1, said Sac State coach Randy Dedini.

“We played really well early in the season; we had 11 new players and a great senior class,” Dedini said. “We (also) had great potential to score and played good defense.”

During the seven game preseason schedule, the members of the women’s team will also have the opportunity to improve upon their individual skills and work on getting back into playing shape. This is because of NCAA rules that only permit eight hours per week of athletic-related activities and two hours per week of skill instruction, Dedini said.

Junior midfielder Caitlin Prothe, who made first team all-Big Sky last season, said she is focusing on trying to stay healthy during the preseason as she’s still recovering from a sprained MCL. She also wants to work on her defense and one-on-one skills.

Sophomore midfielder Mikayla Reed, who was named second team all-Big Sky last year, is also working on improving her individual skills during the preseason. After having a more defensive midfield role, Reed said she wants to work more on her attacking skills and leadership abilities.

“I want to work on being more of a leader,” Reed said. “I want to be more vocal on the field.”

The Sac State men’s team will kick off its preseason against three straight professional teams in the Real Monarchs SLC (at home) on March 3, Sacramento Republic FC (at home) on March 7 and Reno 1868 FC (away) on March 10.

“It is a fantastic opportunity to play against pros, and a lot of our guys have ambition to be a pro someday and they get to measure themselves against the pros and learn how to be a professional,” said Sac State coach Michael Linenberger.

Last season, the men’s program went 8-9-2 (4-4-2 Big Sky) and lost in the in the quarterfinals of the Big West Conference Tournament to California State University, Northridge.

“We gave up too many goals last year, so we certainly need to improve our overall team defending,” Linenberger said. “We were inconsistent with our goal scoring. There (were) some games we didn’t create a lot and got shut out in too many games, so certainly we need to improve in all those areas.”

Further opportunities for improvement will also be offered after the three scrimmages against professional teams as the men’s team will compete in an alumni game (at home) on April 14, and then against Saint Mary’s College (April 21) and UC Davis (April 29) on the road.

The Hornets will be young this year, but they’ll be bringing back some experience with players like sophomore midfielder Christian Webb, sophomore defender Mac Harrington and junior forward Brad Bumgarner.

“Since we have such a young group, being a leader on and off the field is important,” Webb said after leading the team in goals last year. “We lost our two captains, and I am trying to be a leader for the guys and help bring that togetherness, there (are) no individuals on this team.”