Golden Eagles feel ‘no pressure’ going into conference play


Xavier Zamora

Players of the Golden Eagles men’s soccer team celebrate another victory.

Braylin Collins, Sports Editor

The defending National Champion Golden Eagles men’s soccer team currently holds an undefeated record of 6-0. Coming after a season with just one California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA)  matchup loss and tie, the team looks forward to the challenge of their upcoming schedule. 

This is the second season in a row where the Golden Eagles open CCAA conference play against Cal Poly Pomona. Last season, Pomona was victorious in the conference matchup opener against the team in a close battle ending 1-0. 

However, the Golden Eagles are sticking to the plan they have had all season, taking it one day at a time.

“We’re going to keep it simple,” said Junior striker, Atonal Torres. “We come into every game with the same mentality. Whoever we play, we know we have to give it our all.” 

Being the #1 ranked team in Division II soccer comes with very high expectations. Having not lost a game in almost a full year–the last time being Sept. 25, 2021—the Golden Eagles know teams are looking forward to taking them out of the top spot. Staying mentally focused is pertinent to the team’s success.

“The team is really good at keeping a level mentality,” Torres said. “We know we have a huge target on our back, but we know to keep doing what we’ve been doing and get the win.”

Head Coach Michael Erush has led this team to a great start in his first season in charge. So far, the Golden Eagles have a score differential of 19-4 with three straight shutouts to start the season. Coach believes there is no pressure in any game they play, as the team has been well prepared since the pre-season on what they would face this year.

“Each day is just another game, another opportunity for our student-athletes to perform at their highest level with high expectations,” Erush said. “Success from previous years is in the past, now it’s time to focus on 2022. 

A key factor in the continuation of the team’s success is having similar team philosophies from last season while incorporating some new philosophies, including preparation, tactics and mentality by Erush.

“You don’t want to completely change a team’s philosophy after winning a National Championship,” Erush said. “But there were some areas that I felt we needed to put more of a focus on to get better as a team. So far, I like where we are with that.”

The Golden Eagles faced Cal Poly Pomona on Saturday to begin conference play and started with an impressive 6-0 victory. Their next two games are important conference matchups against Cal State Monterey Bay and Dominguez Hills, both at University Stadium.