SACRAMENTO, Calif.- The Cosumnes River Hawks used this past week to prepare for their most difficult test of the young 2013 season, tomorrow's nonconference match against Hartnell College.  The Hawks men's soccer team is off to their best start in years, currently undefeated with a 3-0-3 overall record heading into the season's fourth week. 

The Hawks recently hosted the Nor Cal JUCO showcase, and finished with a strong performance, closing out the weekend with a pair of victories and a draw.  CRC still has a few areas they're looking to improve upon before the team embarks on a road trip that will see them take on perennial power Hartnell, and a pair of southern California opponents.

"During the tournament, we saw that we were having trouble in certain areas," said men's soccer assistant coach Brandon Evangelista.  Specifically, the staff believes they're giving balls away in the midfield, and need to improve the positioning of their four midfielders.  "We turned our focus (last week) on our four midfielders and worked on their spacing and positioning with each other," said Evangelista. 

CRC worked this past week on cleaning up the team's transitional phase, as well as their understanding of where the team needs to be when they have the ball on the field.  "We worked on being more competitive when we play and go after the ball more," said Evangelista prior to Monday's practice.  "(We worked on) playing to win instead of playing not to lose."

The Hawks face a difficult test this upcoming week, as they take on Hartnell on the road before heading to southern California for a pair of matches.  In Hartnell, CRC looks to challenge a perennial postseason power, and a team with recent final four experience.  "They are a smaller sized team… they usually have pace on the top and their wing players," said Evangelista of Hartnell.  "Their team has good technique and can play a little physical."

"In the past we would outplay them with our soccer tactics, speed, and discipline to defend," said Evangelista, a former CRC goalkeeper.  "When I played we beat them 1-0 in the 2nd round of the playoffs (2006)."  Cosumnes River lost a tough match to Hartnell last season, falling 4-1.

Cosumnes River will finish the week with road contests against Cuyamaca (Sept. 21) and Mira Costa (Sept. 22) respectively.  The Hawks will return home to open their Big 8 conference schedule against Santa Rosa (Sept. 24) next week.