CSUB hopes to take big step up


By Esteban Ramirez

Managing Editor


Last season was billed as a rebuilding year for CSU Bakersfield women’s soccer team, but this year it’s a lot about taking the next step as a program.

“The easiest jump is from poor or bad to good because you’re just bringing in a better caliber of athlete, but from good to great the details become more important,” said CSUB coach Gary Curneen. “Now you’re one goal, an inch, a yard and that’s how close it is. So how do you do that? I feel our biggest thing for us to take that next step we got to beat a big team.”

Curneen said they need to earn the belief of being able to beat one of those teams and not just hope they can win.

“If we are going to get beyond this year’s level and get to there, I think we are going to have to take someone down and we are going to have to do it where we earn that belief.”

According to Curneen, CSUB has the third toughest schedule in the Western Athletic Conference and he said they have done that to play against tougher teams.

Curneen is circling home games against Fresno State Sunday, Aug. 21 and University of Texas-El Paso Friday, Aug. 26 as a couple big games starting this season.

In the 2015 season, CSUB started slow but started to find some consistency once they made it to conference play.

It headed into the WAC Tournament, which CSUB hosted, with some momentum. The Roadrunners also managed to get the program’s first postseason victory over New Mexico State, 2-1.

However, they lost in the following round to top-seeded Seattle University, 3-0.

The Roadrunners ended with a 6-12-3 overall record and a 3-5-2 conference record.

Another goal this year is closing the gap against Seattle.

“Our benchmark is Seattle,” he said. “I think if we can compete better against Seattle and get closer to Seattle, the rest of them will take care of itself.”

He said the identity of this team is it is a good possession team and the strength of the team is they can press the ball higher up the field.

Some key returning players for CSUB are redshirt-sophomore forward Aminah Settles, who led the team with 11 goals and 23 points; sophomore forward Haley Vicente, who finished with 5 goals and 11 points; junior midfielder Maja Green, who ended the year with 4 goals and 9 points and redshirt-sophomore midfielder Alexa Orrante, who had 2 goals and 8 points.

Curneen said a couple new players they are expecting to get scoring from are freshmen midfielders Darian Gambetta from Las Vegas and Myah Oden from Elk Grove, Calif.

Though CSUB is returning its two top scorers from last year in Settles and Vicente, Curneen believes they need more scoring collectively.

“We feel for us to get to a conference tournament and win a conference tournament and get to where we really want to go, we probably need about 25 more goals,” he said. “It would be asking a lot for someone to come in and knock in 25 goals by herself, so we got to get those by splitting the job in certain areas.

Green the team is ready for the season to get going.

“We are all super excited, and with all the new players coming in, we had a great pre-season,” she said. “We are excited and I think this year is going to be great.”

Settles, who last year earned Western Athletic Conference First Team All-Conference and Freshman of the Year honors, said she feels the team will take a big step up this year.

“We’ll definitely be winning more games this year,” she said. “We have a tough [non-conference] schedule but that was made to push us, and going in to conference, I think we will be able to have the momentum built. I think we will do very well.”