Fuerte Receives All-PWC Preseason Selection; UHH Projected Ninth
The University of Hawai`i at Hilo men’s soccer team was picked to finish ninth in the PacWest Conference this season, according to a poll of league coaches.
UH-Hilo, under second-year Director of Soccer Lance Thompson, finished tenth in 2013 with a 4-7-1 conference mark and 6-8-1 overall record.
“I thought that was an accurate projection based on what people think we have,” Thomson explained. “I think that there’s a great opportunity for us to surprise some folks.”
Thompson has had a full year to recruit, unlike last year, where he arrived in the islands just days before his team opened up practice. Now, with everything under control, he hopes that the men’s soccer program can make a push toward the top of the PacWest.
Helping to lead the charge this year will be Xavier “Ikaika” Fuerte, last year’s honorable mention selection at his defender’s position. This year, the senior from Kaua`i has been selected to the All-PacWest Preseason Team.
Fuerte didn’t score last year, although his 16 shots taken were the most of anyone on the team, and his seven shots on goal ranked second. His all-around ability on the pitch is a vital asset to the Vulcans’ chances for success.
“His positioning on the field and his role is going to be different this year,” said Thompson. “Later in the year last year, we dropped him back to center back. Last year, without a doubt, wherever we put him, he was our best player on the field at any position…I think we’re looking at him performing his dirty work at the center back position this year.”
UH-Hilo’s top two goal scorers, James Yamane and Anthony Novella, are back as well. Yamane, now a junior, was an All-PWC Honorble Mention selection last season after scoring three goals and adding two assists. Novella, entering his sophomore season this year, tied with Yamane for three goals last season. His eight shots on goal were more than anyone else on the team.
Thompson is still deciding on a replacement for goaltender Yonha Adrabi, who picked up five shutouts last season. Sophomore Cassidy Dixon, a graduate of Hawai`i Academy of Arts and Sciences, is one of three goalies in the running for the job. Also competing for the job is Erick Lemus, a sophomore transfer from Franklin Pierce University, and Tyler Hoffman, also a sophomore, who last played at Cal State Los Angeles.
The Vulcans’ first eight games are all on the road. The season opens up in British Colombia with a neutral site game against Sonoma State University on Sept. 7, followed two days later by a game against Simon Fraser University, the third ranked team in Division II.
UH-Hilo doesn’t play a home game until Oct. 4 against Point Loma Nazarene. Kickoff at the UHH Baseball Field is scheduled for 4:30 p.m., preceding the women’s game.
2014 PacWest Men’s Soccer Projected Order of Finish
(first place votes listed next to each school, where applicable)
1. Azusa Pacific (5) – 155 points
2. Fresno Pacific (6) – 154
3. California Baptist – 132
4. Hawai`i Pacific – 126
5. Point Loma Nazarene – 115
6. BYU-Hawai`i (2) – 114
7. Notre Dame de Namur – 107
8. Academy of Art – 101
9. Hawai`i-Hilo – 62
10. Holy Names – 52
11. Dominican – 46
12. Dixie State – 39
13. Chaminade – 15
2014 Preseason All=PacWest Men’s Soccer Team
Jorge Chegraui (So.) – Fresno Pacific
Brais Garcia (Sr.) – Hawai`i Pacific
Jaime Phillips (Jr.) – Holy Names
Paul Oliver (Sr.) – California Baptist
Thorvaldur Sweinsson (Sr.) – Academy of Art
Daniel tenBosch (Jr.) – Point Loma Nazarene
Xavier “Ikaika” Fuerte (Sr.) – Hawai`i-Hilo
Tyler Matas (Jr.) – Notre Dame de Namur
David Urbina (Sr.) – BRU-Hawai`i
Olivier Rolland (Sr.) – Hawai`i Pacific
Chris Pineda (Sr.) – BYU-Hawai`i
2014 Preseason All-PacWest Men’s Soccer Awards
Player of the Year
Jaime Phillips – Holy Names
Co-Defender of the Year
Tyler Matas – Notre Dame de Namur
Olivier Rolland – Hawai`i Pacific
Goalkeeper of the Year
Chris Pineda – BYU-Hawai`i
Coach of the Year
Phil Wolf – Point Loma Nazarene