COLLEGE COURSE: Coyotes Men’s Soccer

Perhaps the most interesting of CSUSB’s fall sports, the Men’s Soccer team may be facing the program’s golden era dead in the eye.

All-American junior keeper Tanner Olinger has his back to goal and nothing makes a team feel more comfortable than an unbeatable teammate in between the pipes. If he can stay healthy — and all indications are that he’s been a beast in training camp — the Coyotes are to be considered the team with the most to gain in the CCAA.

Did I mention he had a 0.63 goals-against average? Ridiculous. Heroic stuff.

After playing phone-tag with head coach Noah Kooiman last week, I got big-timed (j/k Coach!) and associate head coach Tony Vigil called me. So Vigil and I yapped about some key points and kept it brief.

He characterized Olinger as “one of those guys that pushes everyone else. He’s one of our fittest guys, and leaks out over, and into our other players.”

He said that Olinger often wins long sprints against supposedly “faster” field players.

Vigil also gave some insight into how the CCAA South Division might get “sticky”.

Q: If the Coyotes win the CCAA, who finishes second?

A: “(Cal Poly) Pomona is gonna be very good. Those will be good games. They’re a senior heavy group. Coach Thompson does fantastic job. (Cal State) Dominguez Hills are coming back re-energized after missing the playoffs last years. Those games are always battles. Man, this conference is tough. (Cal State) L.A. has a chip on its shoulder… It’s going to be sticky down south.”

The Coyotes’ 2010 roster paints a fuzzy picture of what the squad will look like this season. There is one thing, though, that is quite glaring:

The search is on for goals.

The team graduated the its three leading scorers, including second-team All-America Obi Agwu (12 goals in ’10), and there aren’t many options beyond sophomore forward Julio Ayala (San Bernardino Cajon) and  Juan Galarza (Montclair), who combined to score six goals last season.  

Obviously, who scores’em will be paramount in 2011, because everyone knows who’s stoppin’em.

It’ll be that guy — Olinger. The best keeper in D-2.

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