Men's Soccer Gears Up For Fall With Spring Season

April 8, 2010

By Mark MorganThe UW Daily

The Washington men's soccer team is getting back into the swing of things for the fall season by training and competing in exhibition matches during the spring. The Huskies, who finished the 2009 season 5-7-6, and 2-3-5 in the Pac-10, which was good for fifth in the conference, are hoping to come back with a vengeance in 2010.

'Spring is always about remaking your team and assessing the additions and subtractions,' head coach Dean Wurzberger said. 'We are just at the beginning of our game series, so a lot of that is still to be answered, but it is a time to re-align groups in your team.'

The 2010 Huskies will need to be more of a factor in the offensive game: Last season, Washington only netted 19 goals, which was last in the conference.

In the spring season, the coaching staff experiments with different player combinations to see what works. Monday, the Huskies started five freshmen in a match against the Seattle Sounders.

'We got hammered by the Sounders, which was a surprise to me,' Wurzberger said. 'It was a performance that was well below our par, and I think maybe the guys got nervous or intimidated by the pro setting.'

Washington's upcoming match on Saturday against Portland will be a true test against a team coming off a season in which it earned a post-season birth.

'That will be a really good measure,' Wurzberger said. 'They're playing well in spring, and they are coming off a playoff year, and that will answer even more questions.'

The team lost four players from last season's roster who got significant playing time: Casey Cunningham, Rylan Hawkins, Taylor Hoss and Adam Lang. Four out of 11 is not an immense number, but replacing excellent players, as well as team leaders, is not an easy task.

Washington has seven new recruits coming to campus in the fall, and one signee who enrolled early and is competing in spring soccer with the rest of the team, goalie Spencer Richey.

'Some are ready to play probably right away,' Wurzberger said. 'We won't know who those are until we get them into training and look at them side by side with our returning players.'

After Saturday's match at Husky Soccer Field, the team will head to Corvallis, Ore., to face Pac-10 rival Oregon State. Spring scrimmages will wrap up with a match against Seattle University.

'We've set our sights on winning the Pac-10 next fall,' Wurzberger said. 'That's how we're approaching things, and we think those are realistic objectives.'

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