UHV looks to keep getting better in 2013 (VIDEO)
JAGUARS AT A GLANCE
• HEAD COACH: Adrian Rigby
• 2012 RECORD: 9-7-1
• 2013 SEASON OPENER: Saturday vs. University of Southwest at 4 p.m.
The UHV men's soccer team has been on the rise the last few years.
For the last three seasons, the Jaguars have increased their win total, but those seasons were all losing ones.
But with the season to begin Saturday, the Jaguars are set to embark on what players believe will be a better year.
In their final scrimmage Wednesday, the Jaguars came out scoring early. Jaguars coach Adrian Rigby was glad the team came out and played aggressively, which Rigby wants to transition to Saturday.
"We scored on two set pieces that we practiced on," Rigby said. "We're capable of taking the next step this season."
During last year's nine-win season, the Jaguars had trouble scoring and holding on to leads. Though scoring may have been an issue through most of the season, the Jaguars made it to the Association of Independent Institutions Conference tournament.
They were eliminated by Jamestown in the first round after two overtimes. The Jaguars first time in the playoffs helped them get a taste of playing in that environment.
Hector Ramirez will be in his second year playing with the Jaguars and last year's second team all-conference defender believes consistency was a challenge for the team last season.
Through the Jaguars' first eight games of 2012, the Jaguars could not hold their lead four times. Ramirez said the team will be better. Their past records show it's possible.
"We had our ups and downs," Ramirez said. "We had games we should have won, so hopefully this year, we can stay consistent and get to the playoffs."
Though five starters return to this season's team, Ribgy brought in six international players.
"For us, soccer is a world game so we want to get players from all over the world. We look locally as well," Rigby said. "It's our job as coaches to blend them in together."
Senior Israel Nava recalled how close the Jaguars were from advancing in the playoffs.
Based on the last few practices and scrimmages, Nava said the team is ready for what they want to be a long season.
"I want to win conference this year and go to nationals. It's a really good goal," Nava said. "Last year, we were really close. We lost in (penalty kicks). This year, we are going to take conference and go to nationals."
Rigby, who is in his fourth year coaching the Jaguars, doesn't like to compare teams that he has coached. So, the fact each of his teams made progress in wins doesn't matter to this season's squad.
"I don't compare teams from year to year," Rigby said. "All I'm concerned about is this year."