The Hastings College men’s soccer team continues forward to dominate the Great Plains Athletic Conference (GPAC) this season, going for their 20th regular-season title and their 16th GPAC post-season tournament title. The team also has not lost a regular season conference game since 2013, which was against Midland University.
“Yes, I think that there is no question about it (winning the 20th GPAC regular season title),” said Junior Francisco Arevalo. “It’s all in our control and it’s just about whether the team can keep going because it’s a long season. We have to get after it at every game. Talent is there no doubt, it’s just about mentality and that’s something that we are going to strive for and keep pushing into the guys, especially the newcomers and the standards that need to be set.”
The Broncos have 16 new players — 11 first-year students and five transfers — compared to the 18 returners.
“It’s been really good culturally. It’s very diverse and that’s always a good thing. It has had our whole team step out of their bubble to meet and understand other personalities and cultures. They have really gelled well on the field. We are very optimistic looking into the future for the program,” said Head Coach Tim Bohenkamp.
The men’s soccer team has just started conference play and the pressure of winning gets harder each year. The Broncos had a scarce 1-0 win in double overtime against Mount Marty on September 22. Bohenkamp mentioned that they look at one game at a time and only focus on the team they are playing next.
One thing that has been consistent for HC during play so far this season has been their defensive core. Players have had to step up when it comes to scoring goals due to the graduation of Daniel Whitehall, who scored 93 goals in his college career at HC.
“Defensively, we have a good back four. We haven’t gotten scored on a lot. Last year, only nine goals were scored on us in 20 games. This year is only three goals so far, and I think that’s a good point to be at. This year everyone has a role and is working hard as well,” said Senior Fernando Lisboa.
One thing that has really helped the men’s soccer team unite to be successful is the “one team, one family” mentality. Bohenkamp brought up that they took away the saying last spring due to the fact that he didn’t see his team represent that saying. He didn’t bring back the motto until this fall once he saw the team get together and play for one another during preseason.
“‘One team, one family’ is essential because to have a successful team, you need to have good team chemistry and good bonding — to have a good foundation to set before you start winning. I think that having the team united as one is the biggest step, because if we are on the field and we are mad at each other, it is going to affect play. As long as we keep the team together, we will be fine,” Arevalo said.
During practice on September 10, the team came together with a unanimous vote to turn their shirts inside out during practice in order to raise awareness for suicide prevention as part of World Suicide Prevention Day. Every player and coach partook in the event.
“I was pushing it that day and someone on the team had suggested the idea (to turn the shirts inside out) and I liked it a lot because it’s said how people keep their feelings inside and not take it out. We did the shirts to symbolize that whatever you have inside, take it out if it makes you feel better. We had a good talk after practice about what it was for and I think the team responded really well. As soon as I sent the message, they all were supportive. I didn’t expect a lot of the guys to be as open about it but it shows when you start talking about it, people are actually open about the idea,” Arevalo said.
With the latest National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) Coaches’ Top 25 poll, HC moved up in the rankings to number six and still remain number one in the GPAC. The men’s team will host Briar Cliff University this Saturday at 3:30 p.m., and Presentation College on Sunday at 4:30 p.m.