Proximity seems to have done something for Juan Lopez.
The Evergreen State College junior, an Aberdeen High School graduate, is leading the Cascade Collegiate Conference in scoring average at one goal per game. He has scored nine goals — tied for third in the CCC — in nine matches, compared with four total from his sophomore season.
What’s so different?
This year, he lives near campus.
Lopez made the move from Aberdeen to Olympia during the summer. He lives in an apartment with teammates Angel Guerra (goalkeeper), Crisantos Chavez (defender) and Juan Oropeza (midfielder), who is his cousin.
“When I didn’t live here, I used to leave after practice and not put in extra time,” Lopez said. “Living here has made me more committed to the soccer program.”
He said he also feels more comfortable, which has translated to the scoreboard. All of Lopez’s goals have come in TESC’s last four games — including three apiece against Multnomah and Walla Walla two weeks ago.
“Our team chemistry is getting much better, and I think that’s a big factor of why I get more space to shoot,” Lopez said.
Lopez netted two against Oregon Tech on Saturday to bring the season total to nine. In the 58th minute he found the back of the net from 8 yards out. In the 88th minute, he rocketed his second goal to the far right post to solidify a 4-0 Geoducks win.
“His agility is fantastic,” Evergreen coach John Purtteman said. “He’s explosive and can change direction very easily, and just has a tremendous shot as well.”
Purtteman said he’s been waiting for Lopez to break through.
“I knew that it was there because you can tell his technical ability is so good,” Purtteman said. “It was just a matter of him getting comfortable.”
Following shutouts of Southern Oregon and Oregon Tech over the weekend, the Geoducks are tied for second in the CCC at 6-1 (9-1 overall). They travel to Montana this weekend to face Carroll College and University of Great Falls.
Clippers volleyball program in the works
South Puget Sound Community College has started the process to add volleyball to its athletic slate in the fall of 2016.
The college opened the position for admissions advisor/volleyball on Oct. 9 via its website.
The volleyball program will replace softball, which was dropped this summer.
The opening closes Oct. 27.
Lauren Smith: 360-754-5473