COSTA MESA, Calif. – This week, the Vanguard men's soccer team returned to campus with their eyes set on getting back to the top of the GSAC and reaching the national tournament. A season ago, the Lions jumped out to a hot start, beginning with a 5-0 record and losing their first GSAC contest in overtime. With their eyes sent on 2017, Vanguard welcomes six new faces to the squad including transfers Joey Berry (FR/Laguna Hills, CA), Martin Arrieta (JR/Pasadena, CA), Wilton Quintero (SR/Santa Barbara, CA), and Sebastian Cortez (JR/Hawthorne, CA) who will immediately make an impact on the team. They will be called upon to replace the minutes of Zac Way, Ivan Azpeita, Juan Arellano, and Josh Davis.
By the end of last year, they hosted Biola in the GSAC Tournament First Round and won a thrilling 3-3 game that ended with the Blue and Gold advancing in the shootout. They were eliminated from the conference tournament by Menlo College in their fifth overtime contest of the year. The conference had a somewhat down year for the historical trend of the GSAC and thus the Modified RPI rankings left Vanguard on the outside looking in at the NAIA Tournament.
Arellano was recognized as an NAIA All American Honorable Mention after being named an NAIA All American Second Team in 2015. Arellano led the Lions with eight goals on the year and took 61 shots. Per match, he scored just under half a goal (0.47 gpg) and 3.59 shots per contest. He also led the team with 1.65 shots on goal per game and a total of 28 this season. Arellano ranked 11th in the country in game winning goals per game (0.29), 18th in total game winning goals with five, and 45th in shots per game.
In addition to Arellano, Brandon Gomez (SR/Los Angeles, CA) and Davis were voted to the All-GSAC team in 2016. Gomez slots in as one of the top goalkeepers in the conference posting four shutouts in the 10 GSAC games and ending with a 6-4 win loss/ratio. Davis once again anchored a backline that only allowed 10 goals all season.
The 2017 campaign begins on Saturday, at 4:00 p.m. for the annual Blue/ Gold Game with their first countable contest on August 18th against La Sierra University with the kickoff starting at 4:00 p.m.