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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Tuesday's Roadrunner Rundown profiled each of the four fall sports in a special preview edition.
Three of the sports have first-year coaches: Richie Grant in men's soccer, Gary Curneen in women's soccer and Giovana Melo in volleyball.
All discussed their upcoming seasons. Also providing a rundown was director of track/cross country Marcia Mansur-Wentworth.
Grant takes over for Simon Tobin, who was CSUB's coach for 26 years before accepting a job at San Jose State in January.
Grant noted that five seniors return to CSUB and all returnees reported to summer practices stronger and more fit.
The coaching staff is identifying the new players to see how they're adjusting to college soccer.
Defense has been the men's focus. Offensively, Grant said he doesn't expect one player to be a main scorer but goals should be divided among several players.
The men's soccer season opens Aug. 29 at San Diego State. The home opener is 7 p.m. Sept. 13 against UC Davis.
Curren, who replaced Melissa Phillips, said the squad, which features six seniors, is progressing and showing intensity.
"The returners are stepping up their game," Currens said.
Among the returnees is Hedda Regefalk, last year's WAC Freshman of the Year, who had three goals and four assists in WAC play last season.
Curren said Regefalk should be even better with better skilled players around her. Curren noted that Regefalk faced triple-teaming defenses at times last year.
"We've got good people here," Curren said but added that there are plenty of question marks.
"Is that consistency there yet? Not yet," he said.
The women's soccer season opens this weekend with two home matches, 7 p.m. Friday vs. Gonzaga and 3 p.m. Sunday vs. Eastern Washington.
Melo takes over a team that reached the WAC Tournament championship match last season. Like Tobin, the husband and wife team of ex-CSUB volleyball coaches Jolene and Aaron Shepardson left for San Jose State.
"We have an inexperienced team but an athletic team," Melo said. "The success of the team will show at the end (of the season)."
Melo is implementing new sets offensively and defensively. She has nine returning players and two newcomers.
"A lot of little details," she said. "It's different how we play defense. The speed of the sets, the speed of the game. I play differently than they're used to. ...
"We're slowly getting better."
The volleyball season opens in Huntsville, Texas, at the Sam Houston State Tournament Aug. 29-30. The home opener is the Sept. 19-20 Roadrunner Classic that includes Long Beach State, Fresno State and Oregon State.
The cross country team has a 14-women roster, with 12 from Kern County and nine from Bakersfield high schools.
The season's goal is to peak at the WAC Championships.
"We won't be a contender right away," Mansur-Wentworth said. "As long as we see improvement, we can build on the success we have."