Sonoma State men’s soccer ranks high in predictions

By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Looking to end a postseason drought, the Sonoma State men’s soccer team is picked to be among the best in the California Collegiate Athletic Association for the 2013 season.

Sonoma State is projected to win the CCAA North Division and be one of the four schools to make the conference tournament, in a poll of league coaches.

Defending CCAA champion Cal State Stanislaus was picked second in the north. Cal State Dominguez Hills and Cal State Los Angeles led the South Division.

Cal State Los Angeles is the only conference team ranked in the preseason nation’s Top 25 by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

Cal State Dominguez Hills also was picked to win the CCAA championship in the poll of league coaches.

“It’s great that the CCAA coaches respect our program by choosing us to win the north, but we know it’s going to be a challenge,” said Sonoma State coach Marcus Ziemer.

Should the Seawolves meet expectations and reach the CCAA tournament, that would end a two-year postseason absence. Sonoma State also has not qualified for the NCAA Division II tournament the past two seasons.

A year ago, Sonoma State finished third in the north. After starting the season with five wins in six games, the Seawolves finished 8-8-2 overall and 6-6-2 in the CCAA.

Returning 24 players including eight starters, Sonoma State has the experience to contend in the always tough CCAA.
“I really like our team and if we keep working hard and improve every day, then we can achieve our goals,” Ziemer said.

A pair of Empire prep greats will lead Sonoma State.

Taylor Varnadore, a senior for the Seawolves this year and an Analy graduate, is a three-time All-CCAA selection and twice has been named NCAA Division II All-West Region. Varnadore was third in the conference for total points last season, and has 31 goals and eight assists in his Sonoma State career.

Michel Arroyo, a junior out of Calistoga, twice has made the all-conference team. Arroyo also was the CCAA Freshman of the Year. In two seasons, Arroyo has totaled 18 points.

Sonoma State opened 2013 with a 1-0 loss at Stanford in an exhibition Wednesday. Next is an exhibition at Sacramento State on Tuesday.

Regular-season play begins at home with Fresno Pacific in the Seawolf Classic. San Francisco State and Montana State Billings also will play in the tournament set for Sept. 5 and 7.

The CCAA schedule begins with Sonoma State at San Francisco State on Sept. 13. The home opener has the Seawolves hosting Cal State Stanislaus on Sept. 20.

CLEAR LAKE MOUNTAIN BIKER GRABS TOP-10

Clear Lake High junior Nathan Barnett is back home in Lakeport after earning a 10th-place finish in the 2013 USA Cycling Cross-Country MTB Nationals at Bear Creek Resort in Macumgie, Pa.

Over 1,000 riders from across the U.S. competed in the three-day event. Barnett, who finished fourth overall in the California mountain bike championships and is sponsored by Jeff and Tami Cramer of Main Street Bicycles, finished in 1:04:09. His time, despite a fall on the 3.6-mile circuit, was only a little more than seven seconds off the pace set by winner Christopher Blevins of Durango, Colo.

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