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California Baptist University Returns Veteran Team In 2023

CBU Is Coming Off A History Making 2022 Season During Which They Won The WAC Tournament And Secured The Programs First Ever NCAA Tournament Berth

Coach – Coe Michaelson – 8th Season
Conference – Western Athletic Conference
2022 Record – 11-7-3 overall, 4-3-2 in conference
2022 National Ranking – Not Ranked
Five Year Win Total
2022 – 11
2021 – 11
2020 – 6
2019 – 6
2018 – 9
Key Departures

Bryan Iliohan – Forward – Graduate Student transfer to Washington who was a three-year starter at Cal Baptist with 51 career appearances and 50 career starts. Had 24 goals and nine assists over three seasons. 2022 and 2021 All-WAC First Team selections.

Brian Gonzalez – Midfielder – Appeared in 88 games with 76 starts over five seasons. A five-year starter with 11 career goals and 14 career assists.

Grady Kozak – Midfielder – Appeared in 19 games with four starts at CBU in 2022 at CBU. Scored two goals in 2022. Junior transfer to Fordham for 2023 season. Played at Sacred Heart during 2020 (spring 2021) and 2021 seasons with 22 appearances and 15 starts.

Jordan Lane – Defender – Appeared in 58 games with 50 starts over five seasons. A five year starter who appeared in 13 games with seven starts in 2022. Had one career goal and eight career assists.
2023 Outlook

The 2022 season was the first in which a California Baptist team that transitioned to the Division I level in 2018 as a member of the Western Athletic Conference was eligible for postseason play. An opportunistic CBU team responded by playing their best soccer of the year in the WAC Tournament. The Lancers defeated number four seeded Utah Valley and number one seed Air Force, teams that they had lost to during regular season play, to advance to the championship game of the WAC tournament. A determined Cal Baptist team then advanced past number two seed San Jose State before a record crowd at CBU Soccer Stadium in a game that was decided by a penalty kick shootout to secure the program’s first ever berth in the NCAA Tournament.

The fact that the Lancers were subsequently edged on the road 2-1 by UCLA in the first round of the NCAA Tournament took nothing away from the big step they took last year. The loss to the Bruins likely enhanced their hunger to return to the NCAA Tournament again in 2023.

The question now becomes what will the Lancers under the direction of head coach Coe Michaelson do for an encore in 2023? The chance for continued growth in 2023 looks pretty good with so many experienced players slated to return. It will not take Michaelson long to get a good idea of how competitive his team will be with a challenging slate of non-conference opponents in September that begins with season opening games on the road against West Virginia and Michigan.

The non-conference schedule will provide the opportunity for CBU to make their presence known on the national scene and to prepare them for the rigors of conference play but navigating a challenging and demanding schedule can be a big ask and problematic in regard to team identify and style of play even for a veteran team. Regardless, there is a lot to like about what is happening at CBU and the potential for the program to take another step forward in 2023.

Offensively, CBU will miss the playmaking ability that forward Bryan Iliohan provided. Iliohan was a difference maker who completed his tenure in Riverside with 24 goals and nine assists. Senior Luis Mueller (8g, 6a), a three-year starter and 2022 All-WAC Second Team selection, is among returning players who the Lancers will count on for offensive firepower in 2023. Mueller, the Lancers leading goal scorer last year, has the speed and touch on the ball to create havoc for opponents down the flank. Senior Leo Mendez (5g, 1a) also returns to add another dimension to the attack up top. Sophomore striker Kieran Robson (0g, 1a) who appeared in 20 contest last year is among other returning players who could contribute to the attack. Sophomore Gabriel Gonzalez, a highly regarded 2022 NJCAA 1st Team All-American who transfers in from Phoenix College, is among the newcomers with the potential to add additional punch to the offense.

The midfield looks to be balanced and deep with the return of senior playmaker Lincoln Aquino (1g, 3a), sophomore Adolfo Pino (2g, 2a), a 2022 WAC All-Freshman Team selection who now has the benefit of a year of starting experience under his belt, senior Anthony Vargas (1g, 1a) who was a key contributor last year, and a healthy Arthur Ataide (1g, 0a) who missed the later part of the 2022 season due to injury.

Last year the Lancers had a 0.95 goals against average. Continuity looks to be a big plus in 2023 for a CBU defense that has the potential to be formidable with a talented and experienced group of backs slated to return anchored by senior captain Thomas Beecham (1g, 0a), a three-year starter and 2022 All-WAC First Team selection.

Junior David Cordes (3g, 3a), a two-year starter and 2022 All-WAC Second Team honoree, senior center back stalwart Antonio Gomez, a three-year starter, senior Georg Bjarnason (0g, 3a), a starter last year after transferring in from Grand Canyon, and sophomore Uly Martinzez (0g, 1a), who missed a good portion of the 2022 season due to injury but had a solid 2023 spring season, round out a solid group of returning defenders.

Senior Nolan Premack, the 2022 WAC Tourney MVP, returns to give the Lancers a composed and experienced shot stopper in goal. Premack had a 0.94 goals against average and recorded 7 shutouts between the pipes last year.

The program is headed in the right direction but continued improvement is needed to win on a more consistent basis. That said, the 2023 squad has the potential to win a lot of games. The 2022 WAC tournament championship raised expectations and created momentum that CBU hopes to build upon in 2023. Still the question remains whether the Lancers will have what it takes to keep moving the momentum forward again in 2023.

Angel Guerra – Midfielder – Los Angeles, California – Cathedral High School – Played with LAUFA MLS Next Team. Played in East-West All-Star Game in 2022.

Danny Hernandez – Forward – Riverside, California – Arlington High School – Holds school record at Arlington High School for career goals and assists. Two-year captain. 2023 Press Enterprise Player of the Year. Named to the Elite Academy Southwest Region Best Xl. Played for Riverside Albion Soccer Club.

Dorian Drucks – Goalkeeper – Essen, Germany – Helmholtz High School – Played club for Rot-Weiss.

Drew Hardin – Midfielder – West Palm Beach, Florida – Forest Hill High School – Played for MLS Inter Miami CF. Played for Inter Miami II in USL League 1 and MLS Next Pro. U17 National Team Pool.

Erik Krohnstad – Midfielder – Bergen, Norway – Stange Upper Secondary School – Played club for Lysekloster and Hamarkameratene. Joined CBU in the spring.

Gabriel Gonzalez – Forward – Phoenix, Arizona – A sophomore transfer from NJCAA Division II Phoenix College where he was the 2022 ACCAC Player of the Year, All-ACCAC First Team, and Region 1 First Team. NJCAA 2022 First Team All-American. Scored 17 goals and contributed five assists in 2022 at Phoenix College.

Kristian Johnson – Defender – Redlands, California – Citrus Valley High School – Played for Sporting California Arsenal U19 ECNL. All-League Defender and team captain at Citrus Valley High School. Named to the ECNL Southwest All-Conference Team.

Luis Borrero – Forward – Hamburg, Germany – Played for FC St. Pauli in Hamburg. Made 21 Regionalliga appearances for St. Pauli II. Led St Paul U192 in goal contributions in the U19 Youth Bundesliga.

Otto Gustafsson – Defender – Boras, Sweden – Played for IF Elfsborg U17, U19 and U21 teams in Boras, Sweden. Participated in Swedish Youth National Team training camps.

Stavros Charlampous – Midfielder – Nicosia, Cyprus – Played for APOEL Nicosia. Played for U19 team. Member of U17 and U19 Cyprus National Teams. Can play anywhere in the midfield.

Alexander Hasenohrl – Midfielder – Gumpoldskirchen, Austria – Played for FC Kottingbrun and FC Admira II and U19s. Played for FC Admira II.

Picture from California Baptist University Athletics

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Posted in 2023 Team Reviews

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