Junior Callie Hancock has already provided a spark for
the Bulldogs in the first two games of the young season.
Photo courtesy of Fresno State Athletics
The ‘Dogs play their first home game against San Francisco at Bulldog Stadium today.
Fresh off winning the Western Athletic Conference Tournament championship, the soccer team is back with a bunch of new faces ready to continue what head coach Brian Zwaschka has established in his first two seasons guiding the program.
The mood is much different entering his third season than entering his second where the team went just 6-13 in 2009.
Now, Zwaschka has to get the newcomers up to speed to keep the momentum he has established.
“We’re pretty excited about having some history to build on from last year’s success,” Zwaschka said. “We have new players that are already showing that they’re prepared to contribute and some of them already have.”
Some of those newcomers have made a difference with most of them contributing in Fresno State’s second game this year on Aug. 21 against University of Texas-San Antonio.
Freshman Jaycee Bingham, a Clovis East High School product, scored the first goal of the game and the first goal of her career. Freshman Pernille Ingvaldsen scored the next goal in the same game, also the first goal of her career. Also, freshman goalie Katie DeVault had the first shutout of her career as the team won the game 4-0.
The new players aren’t the only ones making a difference on the field. The veterans are showing what they’ve learned during their time as Bulldogs.
“The group of returners have shown the experience that they’ve built up in the last two years since I’ve been here,” Zwaschka said. “They’re showing now that they’re really engaged in all our concepts and showing some great leadership for all the new players.”
The returners have already put their stamp on the team in the first two games of the season with senior Molly Nizzoli, senior Laura Dodd and sophomore Kayla Kret each netting their first goals of the year.
Junior Callie Hancock is making her presence felt on the field and Zwaschka has seen the junior’s development during her time in the program.
“Callie is an extremely athletic gal,” Zwaschka said. “She was prepared to contribute in her freshman year. She had a slower sophomore year, but she had a very bright spring. That made us feel like she really understood the pressure and expectations of playing forward for us. She’s embraced that and done a great job developing herself physically as well as technically.”
Hancock has come out the gate firing scoring her first goal of the season in the Bulldogs season opener on Aug. 11 against 11th-ranked Texas A&M, which they lost in a narrow contest 4-2. She also assisted on the team’s second goal of the game. Hancock added another goal in Fresno State’s exhibition game against California.
Now, with the home opener happening today against San Francisco at Bulldog Stadium, Zwaschka talked about what will be needed for his team to get back on track with its second win of the young season.
“Try to make sure everybody understands how important the basic details are and if you can get 11 people clicking whether or not they’re the starters or subs,” Zwaschka said. “We’re going to be just fine. We want to create that solidarity defensively where everybody contributes, but also we want to make sure the team keeps that fiery attitude. In the future you got to score goals and that’s what we’re going to do.”