ST. GEORGE – The Dixie State men’s soccer team will began the Josh Pittman era last Saturday when it opened the season with a scrimmage against Laramie County Community College.
Pittman was hired this past December to replace head coach Danny Ortiz, who had been the only person to coach soccer at Dixie State. Pittman who previously coached at Colorado Mesa and Metropolitan State was the first head coach that Dixie State faced in competition.
“I have gotten to know Coach Ortiz and the Red Storm program over the years,” said Pittman. “I am excited to help move the program forward.”
The team captains are senior defender Jorge Echavarria and redshirt sophomore defender Brian Baugh. Echevarria led the team in points last year while Baugh led the team in assists.
“Both of these young men are leaders on and off the field,” said Pittman. “They have earned the respect of their teammates.”
Others returning that saw considerable action last year are midfielders Michael Ropelato (junior) and Alex Galvan (senior), and forward Santiago Alejandro (senior).
The goalkeeping position in 2015 will have a new face. The players vying for the position are Bradley Trella, a transfer from Yavapai Community College, incoming freshman Zach Nielson, and Ryan Brubaker, a former Storm player who has come back to DSU to earn a second degree and complete his last year of eligibility.
Pittman’s primary vision was to get the team playing “effective soccer, against attacking teams.”
“We want to take them out of their rhythm and counter attack when the opportunities present themselves,” said Pittman. “Against defensive teams we need possess the ball and find our way through. Our strength is our defense. We have the ability to counter attack quickly though.”
Azusa Pacific is picked to repeat as champions of the Pac West and also garnered four players on the preseason all-conference team. Fresno Pacific had three players selected and is picked to finish second. The Red Storm split with those two teams last year. APU had to go to overtime for their 2-1 victory while the Storm clobbered Fresno Pacific in the last game of the season 4-1. DSU is picked to finish 12th in the PacWest preseason poll after finishing 2-9-1 in conference last season. “That was last year,” said Baugh. “We are a different team this year, with different coaching.”
Dixie State will have a scrimmage against Laramie County Community College othis Saturday at 6:00 p.m. at Hanson Stadium. The Red Storm will open their season at home on September 4 against Metropolitan State. Game time is set for 5:30 p.m. at Hansen Stadium.
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