The Orediggers kick off their 2023 season Sept. 1 at Cal State Monterey Bay. Their first official home game will be Sept. 8 against No. 22 Cal Poly Pomona.
This item is available in full to subscribers.
If you're a print subscriber, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one.
Click here to see your options for becoming a subscriber.
If you made a voluntary contribution in 2022-2023 of $50 or more, but do not yet have an online account, click here to create one at no additional charge. VIP Digital Access includes access to all websites and online content.
Just as teams change from season to season, so a team itself changes within a season.
Players gain more experience and build chemistry from game to game; one player goes on a hot streak while another hits a wall; injuries change up the roster every week as players sit or recover; and depending on the timing, easy wins can help instill confidence or a false sense of grandeur, while top-notch opponents can help a team improve or completely crush morale.
In short, the Colorado School of Mines men’s soccer team will be very different by the time its Oct. 29 Senior Day game rolls around.
The Orediggers eased into their 2023 season with two exhibition games against Air Force and MidAmerica Nazarene, and was scheduled to kick off official play Sept. 1 at Cal State Monterey Bay. Their first official home game will be Sept. 8 against No. 22 Cal Poly Pomona.
While the Orediggers lost their Aug. 24 exhibition game to MidAmerica Nazarene 1-0, senior midfielder Ian Kugler was looking forward to building off that performance and bouncing back for the season opener.
Because they’ve only been training together a few weeks, junior midfielder Caelin David explained that everyone’s still figuring out the best lineups and formations. The Orediggers are also incorporating eight freshmen and three transfer players into the team and its culture, he added.
David, Kugler and junior defender Grant Bell felt there was a strong foundation for the Orediggers to build on in their regular season games. Bell thought Mines’ defense “has been pretty stout” in the exhibition games, and he and Kugler said the offense was patient with possession and deliberate on the attack. Overall, Mines had 17 total shots to MidAmerica Nazarene’s eight.
“I think we did a lot of things well tonight,” Kugler said after the Aug. 24 exhibition game, “but we have to be more clinical with our chances.”
Long-term, Kugler believed the Orediggers’ biggest asset will be their depth. As the season goes on, and players battle injuries or general fatigue, the Orediggers will likely rely on their freshmen and sophomores to rotate in more often. Kugler was confident in the underclassmen’s skills, saying, “We have a lot of players who can come in and help us win.”
Mines will certainly need them as it looks to win its seventh consecutive RMAC regular season title, repeat as RMAC tournament champions, and return to the NCAA Division II tournament.
After all the successes in recent years, the Orediggers “have a target on our back,” as David described. All their conference opponents circle the Mines games on their calendars, he said, and “come here and try to prove something.”
But the Orediggers love it.
“We love the competition, and we love to prove them wrong every year,” David continued. “ … It’s going to be exciting this year. I’m looking forward to it.”
At the same time, though, David doesn’t like to look too far ahead on the schedule, emphasizing that he prefers to focus on “the next game.” He and the Orediggers “have to take care of business in California” first, he said referring to the season opener at Cal State Monterey Bay, and then really buckle in for the regular season.
“I think we should take it one game at a time, building our culture and building our team,” David said.
He and Bell were looking forward hosting No. 22 Cal Poly Pomona on Sept. 8, with Bell emphasizing how the Orediggers must make their home turf at Stermole Stadium “a fortress.” They can’t afford sluggish starts or soft play if they want to win at home, he said.
“We’ve lost too many times here in the last couple years,” Bell continued. “ … We have to make it tough for people to come in here and play us.”
For more information on the Mines men’s soccer team, including the full 2023 schedule, visit MinesAthletics.com.
Other items that may interest you
We have noticed you are using an ad blocking plugin in your browser.
The revenue we receive from our advertisers helps make this site possible. We request you whitelist our site.