Hounds wary of opening match

Freedom New Mexico: Clarence Plank ENMU freshman midfielder Eishu Kanemitsu, left, works to get the ball to a teammate as freshman midfielder Danillo Santos defends him during a scrimmage. The Greyhounds open their season today against Adams State at Alamosa, Colo.

Clarence Plank

The Eastern New Mexico University men’s soccer team dominated Adams State last season. Second-year Greyhounds coach Harold Munoz isn’t so sure it’ll be that easy when the teams open the season today at Alamosa, Colo.

“I think Adams will be a pretty tough game, given it will played 1,000 feet above sea-level,” Munoz said. “Our sport is built on endurance, and being that high it makes it a little harder to breath.

“I’m looking forward to seeing how our freshmen and transfer students fill in the gaps from the players who graduated.”

After going 0-10-3 in 2009, Adams State named Tim Busen its new coach in April. The Grizzlies are beginning their second season in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.

The Greyhounds (11-6-2, 1-5 Lone Star Conference last season) played Adams State twice last year, winning 5-1 and 3-0.

“Our biggest challenge this season is the traveling we have to do,” Munoz said. “We have to travel eight hours when we got to play on the road. I believe that is a challenge because players have to miss class sometimes.”

Five starters return for the Hounds, but some key players like Michael James and Abel Asmerom were lost to graduation.

“Michael James was the left back and Abel Asmerom was the right back,” Munoz said. “(But) I think we did good with the incoming freshmen and transfer students.”

He expects defending LSC champion Midwestern State and league newcomer Incarnate Word to be among the toughest opponents this season.

Sophomore Michael Stewart said the team has been working on jelling as a unit.

“Our biggest challenge this year is how young we are because most of the players are freshmen and sophomores,” Stewart said. “We don’t have too much experience on the field.”

Stewart said he’s heard Adams State is a little better this year, but so are the Greyhounds, he added.

“Hopefully, we can start the season off with a good win,” Stewart said. “Our conference is one of the strongest nation with Midwestern, who is always in the top 10 in the nation, along with West Texas (A & M).

“I think we can compete with West Texas. We were just a little unlucky in our games against them last year.”

Harold Munoz (2nd season)
2009 record: 11-6-2 (1-5 Lone Star Conference)
3 — at Adams State, 12:30 p.m.; 5 — Colo.-Colorado Springs, noon; 7 — at Lubbock Christian, 2 p.m.; 9 — Texas-Permian Basin, 3 p.m.; 13 — at Wayland Baptist, 7 p.m.; 17— West Texas A&M, 4 p.m.-x; 24 — at Northeastern State, 3 p.m.-x; 26 — at Newman, noon.
October: 1 — Incarnate Word, 4 p.m.-x; 3 — St. Edward’s, 2:30 p.m.; 8 — at Midwestern State, 7 p.m.-x; 10 — at Texas-Permian Basin, 3 p.m.; 15 — Texas A&M International, 2 p.m.; 17 — St. Mary’s, 11:30 a.m.; 20 — at West Texas A&M, 6 p.m.-x; 24 — Northeastern State, 2:30 p.m.-x; 31 — at Incarnate Word, noon-x.
November: 5 — Midwestern State, 1 p.m.-x.
All times Mountain. x-Denotes Lone Star Conference matches.