The Dixie State College men’s soccer team is just about ready to face one of its toughest opponents on Thursday.
California State University, which is ranked No. 8 in the nation, is not expected to be an easy team to beat for the Red Storm.
“I think it’s going to be a very competitive game,” head coach Danny Ortiz said. “I think the guys feel good about what we can do. But again that’s a very seasoned team with a very seasoned program, so I think we’re going to see right out of the gate what we have to work with, which is important.”
The Red and White scrimmage on Saturday helped put the team in a position it wanted to be in for the Cal State game. The competition on the field gave the players a taste of what it will be like.
“It’s good to get some game speed of things going,” Ortiz said. “It’s nice to get people out to hopefully see the team play and bring some more fans out for our Cal State game because that’s going to be a tough one right off the bat.”
It very well could be a difficult season for DSC. The Red Storm face three teams this year from California, which are all in the top of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
“They all are supposed to be ranked higher than the California Baptists, who came in last year and took the championship,” said junior goal keeper Tyler Walters, a biology major from Ogden. “Our season just got a lot harder.”
Out of the 14 teams in the whole conference, five of them are ranked top 20 in the nation. The team will have to bring its A-game on Thursday against California state.
“Technically what we’re really known for, especially coming from last year, was we work really hard,” said junior defender David Potocki, a criminal justice major from Phoenix, Ariz. “We try to move as fast as possible, and work our fitness to try and keep up. That way we can try to run teams down in the last 10 minutes before we can get scored on.”
In order for the Red Storm to take on this next team they will have to focus on their strengths.
“It’s really going to tell us where we’re sitting right now,” Ortiz said. “Keeping the ball in our first two exhibition games was the problem we had. I thought we could have probably done a lot better scoring some goals there if we could have kept the possession a little bit better. I think that is really what the focus is right now — just not getting ourselves in trouble.”
DSC plays California State at Hansen Stadium on Thursday at 8 p.m.