Mavs’ soccer on the move

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March 7th, 2014

Omaha, NE – March in Nebraska usually means dealing with a mixed bag of weather.

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For UNO soccer fans, March also means a series of exciting pre-season exhibition games. The Mav women’s team, led by head coach Don Klosterman, is coming off a disappointing 3-11-2 record last season. Last year the Mavs- won only one out of seven conference games. But what happened last year isn’t affecting Coach Klosterman’s positive outlook heading into this season’s spring play.

“You know we’ve got in our mind what we want to try to do,” Klosterman said. “What we need to work at and what we need to get better at. I think also just giving them a chance to play some games and everybody is going to get a lot of opportunities to touch the ball and get some playing time.”

The UNO men's soccer team faces tough competition this spring (Photo Courtesy UNO Athletics)

The UNO men’s soccer team faces tough competition this spring (Photo Courtesy UNO Athletics)

The UNO women have four scheduled home games beginning March 30th. North Dakota State, Rockhurst, Augustana and Southwest Minnesota State will all travel to Caniglia Field for soccer matches. UNO will finish off the spring schedule April 19th against Colorado at the Nebraska Soccer Field in Lincoln.

Coach Klosterman said his squad is looking forward to making significant improvements to last year’s overall record but they are also trying to replace the leadership of the five seniors who graduated.

“I think as a group we had some really great seniors in terms of leadership and in terms of their soccer (ability)” Klosterman said. “That is a group that from the time they started until last year, (they) just made tremendous improvement as players. (Through) their maturity, their consistency of play and they are all very competitive.”

Coach Klosterman said he is excited to get the games started to see how his Mavs fare against decent competition.

On the men’s side – Head Coach Jason Mims is also looking for some solid improvements over last year’s efforts. Though he thinks last year’s team put in work to help set the foundation of UNO soccer going forward.

“Incredible, I thought it was very, very rewarding,” Mims said. “Every game we lost was a one goal game. From a year before that the difference was incredible. Soccer is a funny sport where you can dominate games and lose 1-0, because the hardest thing in the world to do is score a goal.”

Coach Mims said through recruiting and training the Mavs are getting better as a squad. However they did lose Freshman Chava Garcia who had to left the team for personal reasons. Garcia led the team last year in total points with 12.

The UNO women's soccer team has four scheduled home games and a trip to Lincoln to face Colorado. (Photo Courtesy UNO Athletics)

The UNO women’s soccer team has four scheduled home games and a trip to Lincoln to face Colorado. (Photo Courtesy UNO Athletics)

Mims also noted that the loss of Captain Matt Grosey who graduated after two years as the team’s starting goalkeeper will be a tough player to replace.

“I think the biggest aspect I would like to take forward is leadership,” Mims said. “We lost our captain so I would like to see some of these older guys take over the team and start leading by example. That’s a big thing for me – where can we take this team leadership wise. We’ve never had an upper-classmen class like this. What can those guys do to not only improve themselves, but how can they get the team better?”

Coach Mims is also looking ahead to the spring schedule as one which will help the team grow. The Mavs face three semi-professional teams this spring, normal for Division-I soccer teams, along with two college squads. The men’s soccer action starts Saturday against the Oklahoma City Energy Football Club, a semi-pro team from the National Premier Soccer League. UNO also faces off against Major League Soccer team Colorado Rapids March 23rd. Coach Mims said playing top competition shows how far his team has come.

Both UNO soccer coaches, Mims and Klosterman, are planning to use the spring exhibition games to their benefit. The coaches both agree that their teams have made some great improvements since the end of last year, and they expect to see a more focused team effort out on the pitch. Both teams are not eligible for post-season play until the 2015-2016 season.

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