By Daniel Giovati
Summer is quickly approaching and for many CSUDH students that means it’s time to relax and hit the beach. For the Toro student-athletes participating in fall sports, the summer is the three months that can make or break their seasons.
CSUDH is coming off an impressive 13-5-3 overall record and they had the best record in the California Collegiate Athletic Association conference at 9-2-1.
The team was eliminated in the second round of the NCAA regional playoffs but they have their sights set on a deeper run next season.
“We want to be able to challenge for the conference title and hope to peak at the right time going into playoffs,” said head coach Sean Lockhart.
Help is on the way for CSUDH. The Toros reloaded thanks to a solid recruiting class put together.
Lockhart expects big things from transfer defender Julian Guerrero who was all-conference at Long Beach City College and Joshua Varon from De Anza College is a product of the Portland Timbers Academy.
Freshman recruits to look out for include defender Arrio Rusnak from Montverde Academy and midfielder Daniel Castorena.
The Toros also have plenty of talent returning to the team. Senior defender Austin de Medeiros and center forward Manny Paez will both be players to look to for big performances on the field.
The potential for next year’s team is endless, how they will put it all together is what really matters.
“With so many new faces from both the playing and staff perspective, the expectations will come down to the unity of the group,” said Lockhart. “How quickly can we manage to get all these new faces on the same page and establish a system on the field as well as camaraderie off the field.”
2017 was not a strong year for the CSUDH women’s soccer team as they went 4-10-2 overall and 3-7-2 in the CCAA conference. However, a turnaround is expected under the leadership of highly anticipated new head coach Marine Cano.
Cano won an NCAA national championship as the CSUDH women’s head coach in 1991. He is a former professional soccer player who boasts 47 years of coaching experience. Cano is expected to change the culture of a program that has not made a postseason appearance since 2009.
CSUDH will look for stability and leadership from returning players like junior center back Jada Thomas who coach Cano expects to be the first team all-conference. At the forward position, senior Ariana Longmore and sophomore Sophia Litendahl will lead the way. Both players scored two goals for the Toros last year.
Fresh faces that will bolster the Toro roster include speedy midfielder Vanessa “The Flash” Campos from the Slammers club team. Maileena Faaita from North Torrance High School will be expected to solidify the center midfield position and control games for CSUDH.
Coach Cano is coming in with a clear philosophy about how he wants the team to play.
“Team speed is everything, in order to win you have to outrun a bunch of teams,” said Cano.
CSUDH women’s volleyball is coming off one of its most successful seasons in the school’s history. A program with a track record of very few winning seasons finished the year 14-12 overall and 10-7 in conference.
They hope to keep the wins coming in 2018. Of their 12 players on the roster, six are seniors. The team hopes that having a roster full of seniors will translate to another consistent season and prove that last year’s success was no fluke.
Returning players that look to help repeat that success for CSUDH is a junior outside hitter Tati Yandall who led the team with 321 kills last season. Senior middle blockers Esther Duru and Cecelia Lucas will anchor the team.
Look for the Toro volleyball team to make a run at the postseason next fall.