By Jeremy McDonald
SALEM, Ore.–Right before the start of training, Corban HC Aaron Lewis spoke about how a few short years ago, team’s like a Westmont wouldn’t consider coming up to Salem for a game against Corban University.
Now, after hosting playoff games against Biola in 2015 and Menlo in 2016, the preseason 10th-ranked Warriors will open the new Warrior Field Friday afternoon to the preseason 26th-team in the Westmont Warriors.
The new Warriors field, the turf with a fence surrounding the field. The lights, a unique structure of LED Lights that will flood Warrior Field come game day for those night games off of State Street for non-league games or playoff games. Lewis points to never seeing anything like it before.
On one side, two banners the read, “Corban Soccer” with sponsor banners hanging on two of the four sides of the interfacing fence where the team’s will be playing at.
The excitement of opening up the field, and bringing in all of that community support from the Cherry City to the turf field at Capital Futbol Complex
“I think it’s awesome, I think it’s a great way to show what a great job that Salem has been and done by building this field and I think the guys are exciting just to have a place that we can call home,” said junior Alex Segovia, who has two goals on the season in three games this season. “I mean Warrior field was awesome, but it’s turf, this is a new pitch and I think the guys are really exciting for it.”
Lewis too echoed Segovia’s remarks as the field at one of the area’s best soccer club facilities in the Salem-Portland area and using that connection to bring the community in for Corban soccer as they are half-way through their preseason schedule from the student body to the community of Salem.
“It would be awesome to have the connection with the local club to be able to get their backing and to be a good example for them,” starts Lewis. “We’re excited because being over here allows us to play in the evening which the students will be able to get out of class and come over here and play under the lights, things like that.
“So, and lastly, this particular field allows us to play at a bigger tempo on the pitch. The ball moves faster on the turf and we got the guys now to play at a different level as far as the tempo goes.”
And with athlete’s like a Segovia, a Timur Zhividze and a Jesse Martin that can score and move around the pitch with gliding ease almost, the turf will play to their advantage as well. All three have at least two goals apiece for Corban as they sit at 3-0 on the season entering Friday’s match-up with Christian Silva leading the team in assist at two.
Defensively, Cascade-product and senior goalkeeper Jordan Farr has 11 saves and a shutout in a little more than 274 minutes and the the Warrior defense itself are only allowing team’s to shoot a little over 10 shots at goal a game with one shutout to their resume already this season.
Not to mention, their resiliency to battle through the adversity has been showcased several times this season.
Coming back from 2-nil against Willamette to win 3-2 and seeing Martin hitting the game-winner against Pacific in the second game in overtime has help this team build confidence to this early point of the season with them integrating several new players onto the team this year
“I think we’ve showed that we’re resilient, we’ve came away with losing in the first half, then coming back up and getting the result,” said Segoiva, who’s came over from Oregon State this year. “Like at the end of the day, we’re just going to win, we’re going to find a way to win and that’s the most important thing.
“It’s incredible, we play for each other, everybody works hard and everything…At the end of the day, we have the common goal that we just want to win. We know we’re a National-contenting program, which is why we don’t look past this, but we know that we have our goals set and I think that brings out the fight in all of us.”
When 4pm rolls around, and the whistle blows to start the game against the Warriors of Santa Barbara off of State Street; there’s another opportunity to get better and to make that bond with each other stronger with Cascade Collegiate Conference play starting on September 15 at The Evergreen College in Washington.
And Lewis can feel the energy already building for this home opener as big games like this are very similar to those in conference play; thus helping Corban down the stretch for CCC-play in a week-and-a-half.
“This game has a different feel than the last three, because it is our home opener as we’re playing a team that won both the Golden State Athletic Conference regular season last year and you can definitely feel as training starts today, that we’re in a big game week,” starts Lewis.
“Big games like this definitely get a different feel to it and that’s kind of similar to when your conference schools are around. The games mean a little bit more, so I think the guys will anticipate more intensity in this particular game and it’s a different type of atmosphere; which I think will prepare them with more experience heading into league conference which will be huge.”
TALE OF THE TAPE:
WHEN: Friday, September 8, 2016
WHERE: Capital Futbol Complex. Training Complex, 5201 State Street, Salem, Oregon 97317.
WHO: Westmont College (0-1-1)