Hillcat Men’s Soccer Opens 2022 Season At Home
Rogers State men’s soccer will kick off the 2022 season at home against Eastern New Mexico on Thursday.
“We are thrilled to get the season underway,” said head coach Derek Larkin. “With a strong core of returners and an influx of talented newcomers, we are excited about the way this team is shaping up coming into the season opener. We were really pleased with what we saw from our guys in the preseason, especially with how well the newcomers picked up our system.”
Last season, the Hillcats ranked in the top 25 all season and finished with an 11-5-3 record, falling 1-0 to eventual GAC/MIAA Champion Fort Hays State in the semifinals of the GAC/MIAA Tournament. This season, RSU was picked to finish third in the GAC/MIAA Preseason Coaches Poll, receiving one first place vote.
The Hillcats bring back 19 players from last year, including three all-conference selections in Ruben Carrasco, Luke Morgan and Declan Viljoen. Carrasco led the Hillcats last season with six goals as well as two assists. Morgan scored one goal with two assists as a midfielder. Viljoen was one of the leagues best keepers as freshman with a 10-4 record and seven shutouts between the sticks. He led the league with a 0.77 goals against average as well as finishing second with a .780 save percentage.
In addition to the returners, Larkin brought in 15 newcomers, including two NCAA Division I transfers. Marcos Vasallo transferred from Cal Baptist where he played in 11 games as a freshman and scored a goal in a game against Chicago State. Erik Hjertsson transferred from Central Connecticut State where he played in 15 games as a freshman and scored three goals with an assist.
The Hillcats will face off against Eastern New Mexico in the home opener of the 2022 season. The Greyhounds will be playing in their first match in two years after the program was discontinued after the 2019 season and revived under new head coach Brandon Misuraca. ENMU was picked to finish 10th in the Lone Star Conference Preseason Poll. The Greyhounds are currently the state of New Mexico’s only men’s soccer program.
RSU currently leads the all-time series 2-0-1 against the Greyhounds. The two teams last met on Sept 20, 2018 in Portales, N.M. in a match that saw the Hillcats take a 1-0 victory with the game winning goal coming in the 51st minute. This is only the second meeting in Claremore in the series. In the first meeting, RSU rolled to 5-0 victory over ENMU in 2017.
Both squads will meet to begin the 2022 campaign on Thursday, August 25 at Soldier Field on the campus of Rogers State. Kickoff is slated for 7:30 p.m.