Rebel Feature Of The Week - Experienced Midfielder Remains Unfazed By Slow Start|
Sept. 3, 2015
LAS VEGAS (UNLVRebels.com) -
by Margo Malik - UNLV Athletic Communications Student Assistant -
Midfielder Kevin Partida is only a junior but the fact that he has been starting for the Rebels since he was a freshman and played a major role on last year’s WAC championship team as a sophomore means he is regarded as a leader on his team. Partida started all 22 games last season and finished with two goals, one of them a game-winner on the road against Incarnate Word while the other came in the WAC semifinal victory over UMKC.
Since five of last season’s starters have graduated, Partida understands his leadership role has increased this season. “I think it’s really important because we have a lot of freshman and a lot of seniors, there’s not that much in between,” says Partida. While he is not a senior, Partida is still able to bridge that gap between his teammates mostly thanks to his experience with them.
“I think he is a leader by example,” said Head Coach Rich Ryerson of Partida. “Last year he didn’t miss a game, he had a great season for us and was one of our leaders during our championship year.” He also noted Partida’s incredible work ethic and special knack for the game, something Ryerson says he was able to identify early in Partida’s high school career.
Partida is also responsible for the Rebels sole goal this season, in a 2-1 loss at Cal Poly. Although the Rebels have lost their first two contests, Partida is not worried yet. “We are obviously bummed about the losses but I am still proud of the team because we didn’t play too bad. We played well, there is just a few details we need to fix.”
The team has been focusing on those issues all week at practice. “It’s been really intense in practice and there’s been a lot of attention to detail,” says Partida, who remains confident in his team and fully intends to lead the Rebels to another championship run. “These are important games, but once we get into conference we are going to be hitting our prime.”
The Rebels will compete at their home field for the first time of the season this Friday. They have a chance to bounce back from their unfavorable start as they face Saint Joseph’s at 7 pm. Partida says he is definitely looking forward to playing in front of the home crowd. “It’s the home opener, usually it’s the biggest crowd of the season,” he said. “We hope to put on a good show.”