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Lions’ Herrera doesn’t back down

SOCCER: Vanguard men’s goalie, now better able to handle adversity, has helped team reach NAIA playoffs today in Oakland.

November 01, 2007|By Barry Faulkner

Trevor Herrera tips the scales at 148 pounds, a figure that would significantly increase were it possible to gauge the figurative weight heaped upon his shoulders merely by the position he plays.

A freshman goalie for the Vanguard University men’s soccer team, Herrera has, at times, buckled under that weight, compounded by his own intolerance for human fallibility.

But that was before he found the middle ground between relishing pressure and snapping under its ever-increasing constricts.

“It’s kind of a flaw in my personality that I like pressure, but when I don’t do well, I’m very hard on myself,” Herrera said. “The pressure of the position draws me to it, but I beat myself up when I don’t perform, because I don’t like to let my teammates down.

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“But I’ve become much better at [shaking off mistakes] this year. It has been a big part of my learning curve. I’d say I’ve gotten over that hurdle, for the most part. And it was a big hurdle.”

The lesson came early this season, when Herrera miscues led to a pair of goals by Simon Fraser in a 2-1 loss Sept. 14 at the Biola Tournament.

“Two bad goals,” Herrera said.

“Colossal mistakes,” Coach Randy Dodge recalled.

“After my mistake led to the first goal, I wasn’t mentally in the game and I made a stupid error on the second goal,” Herrera said.

The breakdowns led Herrera to some serious self-examination.

“There was a lot of internal dialogue,” he said. “I wanted to try to make sure that stupid mistakes didn’t happen. I needed to change how I approached adversity. It changed me a lot, in terms of my mentality.”

The new approach eventually helped Herrera justify the confidence he said all goalies take onto the field. The Mission Viejo High product posted four of his five shutouts in the final six regular-season games for the Lions (9-6, 4-5 in the Golden State Athletic Conference).

Herrera’s heroics helped Vanguard earn a berth in the NAIA Region II playoffs, in which they visit Holy Names (13-2-2) in Oakland today at 1 p.m. for a first-round clash.

In 14 games and 13 starts, Herrera has allowed 17 goals for a 1.31 goals-against average. He has 45 saves and a 7-6 record.

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