Men’s and women’s soccer teams kick off their new seasons

men's soccer
Men's soccer team practicing on Patterson Field at Occidental College in Los Angeles. Tuesday, Sep. 6, 2022. Luka Jackson/The Occidental

Occidental’s men’s and women’s soccer teams both started pre-season play in recent weeks. The men’s team earned 5-2 and 4-3 wins against Soka University and California Miramar, respectively, and the women’s team notched 1-0 and 3-0 victories against San Diego Mesa College and Providence Christian.

In these games, men’s forward Jake Foster (senior) notched two goals and an assist against California Miramar. For the women’s team, Chloe Hetzel (senior), Julietta Seirmarco (sophomore) and Clare Madden (sophomore) all notched goals against Providence Christian. Madden also scored an additional goal in the win against San Diego Mesa.

The men’s team is 1-1 this season with a win against Bethesda University Sept. 1, and a loss coming at the hands of Berry Sept. 5. The teams’ form as of late should leave fans optimistic — in both games, Occidental managed more than 10 shots on goal, and had more total shots than their opponent in both games.

“Coming off a disappointing loss, there’s still so many good little pieces and big pieces of the group,” men’s head coach Rod Lafaurie said. “We’ve just got to work hard every day.”

Lafaurie also said he was urging his team to stay humble and remember that they needed to earn every win.

“The team is motivated,” Lafaurie said. “It’s the humility part we’ve got to remember.”

men's soccer
Men’s soccer team practicing on Patterson Field at Occidental College in Los Angeles. Tuesday, Sep. 6, 2022. Luka Jackson/The Occidental

Jazz Henry (senior) a forward for the men’s team, said he was optimistic about the season.

“We’ve come back with a team that is majority experienced players, all just looking to win and build on our team culture, and make sure that everyone’s doing what they need to do to improve the group as a whole,” Henry said.

As a senior player within the current men’s side, Henry also said he sees many strengths on the team, highlighting the depth of this squad.

The women’s season began Sept. 4 with the team notching a 1-0 win against McMurry at home. Kara Overnell (first year) put the game’s sole goal past the McMurry keeper in the 73rd minute of regulation. Keepers Maggie Baird (senior) and Ingrid Odmark (junior) combined for four saves in the game.

Chloe Hetzel (senior) said a good practice culture has been key to the team’s success thus far.

“At practices, we’ve all talked about our goals as a team and as individuals,” Hetzel said. “I think everyone wants the same thing: to win SCIAC and to continue, so everybody’s been working really hard.”

women's soccer
Women’s soccer team practicing on the Upper Soccer Field at Occidental College in Los Angeles. Wednesday, Sep. 7 2022. Luka Jackson/The Occidental

Head Coach Colm McFeely said he also felt positive about the season so far, though he believes there are possibilities for the team to become even better.

“We’ve looked at a couple of different formations to see what could be best and what players have responded well to,” McFeely said. “Still much to do as we look to bring in some of the squad carrying injuries and see how they add to the possibilities.”

Of course, both teams have a similar expectation and hope for the year: to win.

“We will aim to compete at the upper end of the league table while focusing on each game as they come,” McFeely said.

Lafaurie said he wanted the team to pay attention to effort level and have a day-by-day approach.

“Honestly, as ridiculous as it sounds, [our expectation is] giving our very best every day and being present every day and preparing every day,” Lafaurie said. “I think that when you climb, at a certain point, you just have to keep climbing.”

Hetzel also said it was important for the team to stay true to their approach.

“As a team, collectively, we just want to make sure that we’re playing the way we want to play,” Hetzel said.

Both Henry and Hetzel said they are excited for the upcoming season and ready to face the big games and challenges that lie ahead. Of course, the players also said they remain excited for Occidental traditions, like senior night.

“[We’re] getting back in the swing of playing those big games, like playing Claremont at home … that’s going to be a really fun game,” Henry said.

Hetzel also said she is excited for the team members on the women’s squad.

“I think so far how we’ve been playing this is probably one of the best years and best teams that I’ve seen,” Hetzel said.