FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT Evan O’Kelly Director of Communications O: (406) 657-2130 E: email@example.com Tuesday, October 18, 2016 New Faces: MSUB Men’s Soccer Freshman JD Hauenstein
By: Steen Fredrickson, MSUB Media Relations Intern Impacting the team immediately as a freshman, JD Hauenstein’s reputation as a goal scorer carries over into the college game with four goals already in his first year with the ‘Jackets. MSUB SPORTS – Hold your breath when JD Hauenstein pulls back his right foot to rip a shot, because more than likely it is going in. Less than six minutes into the second half of Montana State University Billings’ game against South Dakota School of Mines on Sept. 11, the true freshman kicked off a spree of scoring that lifted the ‘Jackets to a 3-0 victory. Streaking down the right side of the field and running onto a through ball from senior Julien Dragomir, one touch was all it took for Hauenstein to grab the attention of his teammates and opponents alike. The very first shot of his collegiate career wound up in the back of the net, as he lofted a perfectly-weighted strike from the top of the box over the goalkeeper’s head. The ball piercing the net ignited a celebration for the ‘Jackets at the corner flag, but for Hauenstein, it didn’t stop there.
Four days later, in the team’s next game against Cal Baptist, Hauenstein struck again as he finished a cross from six yards in front of the goal. By the time the week was over on Sept. 22, the freshman had scored two more times, giving him four straight games with a goal. “Scoring those four goals early in the season really brought me a lot of confidence which was nice to have at the beginning of the season,” said Hauenstein. Just around the corner is that fifth goal, waiting for the perfect touch off the freshman’s foot. Hauenstein has made it hard to not talk about him when in conversation about the men’s soccer team, since his name is often in the scoring headline. “His understanding of the game just separates him from many others,” said head coach Alex Balog. Perhaps most striking about Hauenstein’s early achievements have been the efficiency with which he has produced offensively. During his four-game scoring string, he averaged a goal every 40 minutes. Additionally, he scored four goals on just five total shots – all of which were on target. “His vision and ability to gain understanding of the game at a college level has helped him excel quickly,” said Balog. The freshman midfielder has made a seamless transition into a spotlight role for the Yellowjackets this season. Hailing from Spokane, Wash., where he attended Central Valley High School, Hauenstein has been used to succeeding when he is on the soccer pitch. Both his junior and senior seasons found him leading his team to final four appearances in the state soccer tournament. Headlining a runner-up finish his junior year, Hauenstein scored 17 goals in a 16-game season leading him to a first-team all-state selection and a Greater Spokane League offensive MVP trophy. Knowing he had the skill to compete at the next level, Hauenstein began focusing completely on soccer his freshman year. Playing for his high school during the fall and a club team for the majority of the rest of the year his talent became known well. It was just before the time colleges usually extend interest towards a player when the Spokane star got invited by Coach Balog to attend an I.D. camp at MSUB. “My grandparents live close to Billings, and that helped with my decision,” Hauenstein commented on choosing MSUB. “It’s such a nice location and to go along with the fact that I really liked the program, it was a great fit.” As a sophomore at the time he was the youngest player at the camp but that did not stop him from showing how skilled he was. Impressing the coaches immediately, Hauenstein jumped high up on their recruiting board for the 2016 season. Another camp invitation followed the first and his junior summer Hauenstein was back on MSUB’s campus for what turned out to be the final time before committing to the ‘Jackets. His commitment was not without competition; Gonzaga and Whitworth, both hometown teams, had also reached out and recruited Hauenstein heavily. MSUB is where he saw himself excelling and after consideration where he chose to spend his next four years as a Yellowjacket. “We had to compete hard for him to come to MSUB and as a program we are very proud that a top recruit decided to choose our team and help us contend in this very competitive conference,” Balog said. The ‘Jackets wrap up a five-game home stand this weekend against Concordia University and Seattle Pacific University. Entering this week’s games, MSUB is the top-scoring team in the entire NCAA Division II West Region, with 28 goals scored.
Hauenstein’s remarkable efficiency and consistency has continued over his last six matches, as he most recently put 3 of 4 shots taken against Northwest Nazarene last Saturday. “High school and college soccer are very different and it's not an easy transition right away,” Hauenstein said. “But with my teammates supporting me and making an early impact definitely helped me transition to college soccer very easily and a lot quicker.” The freshman also had his two highest minute totals of the season last week, including his first complete-game effort of the year with 97 minutes against the Crusaders. The business finance major is thrilled with his college decision so far and his teammates are glad as well. With a team that consists of players from many different countries, Hauenstein’s personality has fit in perfectly on and off the field. Physically he has exceeded expectations for his freshman year and if his numbers illustrate how the future will go than JD Hauenstein is set for a sensational career.
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