Past success leads to high hopes
Last year, Bear River’s varsity boys soccer team finished third in the Pioneer Valley League with a 10-4-2 record overall. Coach Dave Molina believed it to be the best team the Bruins had fielded in 10 years.
Now Molina is shooting to make last year’s team the second best in the last decade, with hopes of seeing his boys rise to the top of the Pioneer Valley League.
With such familiar faces as Ronnie Angold, Kit Atwood, Kyle Corcehero, Kevin Gardner, Luke LaRash, Jacob Murnan, Josh Orman, Augie Smith, Ryan Wood, and Jason Zandona, Molina expects little trouble topping last season.
“I’m very hopeful,” Molina said. “I think we’ve got a lot of talent, a lot of speed, and good soccer skills.”
Some of the new faces are adding to Molina’s optimism.
Bear River has only one man to fill the keeper position, but it has worked out well through the early stages of the pre-season.
Junior Peter Moore has been performing beyond Molina’s early expectations.
“He’s really pulling his weight,” Molina said. “I’m very confident. He makes extremely good decisions, he has good hands and good attitude.”
Also a new face, and one that Bruins fans are also happy to see, is Anthony Logan. What is surprising to Molina is that Logan had been playing soccer for just three weeks before he scored his first goal in a Bruins uniform.
“He’s a natural athlete – he’s picking it up extremely fast,” said Molina.
Although Molina has met one goal he set years ago, which was to create a Bruin team that would be feared in the league within five years, his ultimate goal this season is still to get over the hump and into playoffs.
“They have every ability to win league and go to playoffs,” he said. “We can do it – the raw material is there.”
Last year, Nevada Union’s varsity boys soccer squad finished one game out of first place in the Metro Conference with a 5-2-4 league record.
After losing 14 players from that team, it wouldn’t be a shock to many if the Miners came up short of surpassing such a successful season.
But when coach Mike Voss scans through the list of the 10 returning Miners, the goal of taking the league title doesn’t quite seem so far out of reach.
Those 10 are Brian Bledsoe, Jason Boutte, Wes Clay, Adam Green, Narayan Jorgenson, Max Meyer, Garret Perez, Nate Rosenbloom, Connor Smith, and goalkeeper Robbie Slaughter.
The players, almost all of whom have no trouble moving from position to position, create a team worthy of respect throughout the Metro.
“We’ve got the most rounded team we’ve had since I’ve been at NU,” said Voss, who is in his third year as varsity boys coach.
“This group is talented – they also can play really well together. We’ve got a lot of interchangeable parts … everybody’s multi-tasking.”
The big news besides NU around the league is Granite Bay’s entrance into the Metro. A constant force in soccer, Voss expects to see some good matches through the year with the newcomer.
“I’m optimistic,” Voss said. “But Granite Bay is in the league this year, and they’re good.”
Two newcomers for the Miners are also expected to make an impact.
David Weberg, a new Miner defender, has been giving huge help defensively, Voss said. Offensively, the same can be said for forward Evan Helman.
“We weren’t sure where (Helman) was going to fit,” Voss said. “But he knows what he needs to do and when he plays he goes 100 miles per hour.”
Of all of his rosters he has had in the past, this year’s 20-man crew is the quickest, Voss said, which has enabled him to set his lineup to his liking.
“Now we’re playing a 3-5-2,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to, and because of the speed this year it works very well.
“It should be exciting if the lads come to play.”
Forest Lake Christian
By the end of the season, Forest Lake Christian varsity boys head coach Thad Kopec expects to see his Falcons bundled in the nest of another Central Valley Christian League championship.
But after last season, you never know.
Kopec had similar expectations in the 2003, but he saw such hopes fall by the wayside at the hands of Waldorf Christian in the league championship game.
It was OK. FLC advanced to the playoffs and then all the way to the Sac-Joaquin Section championship game anyway, where the Falcons again lost to Waldorf.
This year’s team is little different to last year’s, with a couple exceptions: no Joe Seisa, last year’s top sweeper, and no Mark Boatman, one of FLC’s top offensive forces.
They did pick up some players, though, two of who are more than ready to fill in Seisa’s and Boatman’s spots. Luke Zeigenmeyer and Johnathon Crystal have proven themselves ready to go, according to Kopec, and the duo has been making huge contributions already.
A big storyline for the Falcons at this point in the season has been changes. Many of the defensive and offensive players have changed roles and positions, including Stephen Jones, who last year was a midfielder and is now a sweeper.
Despite additions and rotations, most of the names on roster remain the same. Eric Clough and Jason Allgeier are two familiar faces to Falcon faithful, and Joe Martin is still in goal.
“If we stay free from injury we should be competitive,” Kopec said. “I think we’re going to win league,” he added. “It’s been a slow building process when you have freshmen and sophomores that have never played varsity – so it’s an adjustment.”
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User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
As far as experts go, The Union’s “experts” have not exactly lived up to the billing so far this season.