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Boys' soccer preview: Team-by-team capsules
We asked coaches to nominate someone to carry the flag for area boys’ soccer if all local schools were to enter into an event like the Olympic opening ceremony. Here were some of the responses:
“Owen Braley. He is a rush academy player who chose to play high school soccer. I think his story is a good one for this season, as the academies have been so heavily in the news. –Palmer Ridge coach Nick Odil … “Retired coaches Jack Busher (Cheyenne Mountain) or Vic Garcia (Lewis-Palmer). They were instrumental in making high school soccer what it is today.” –Canon City coach Pat Callahan … “I would pick the former coach Dan Egeler who has helped lead this program over the years to enormous success. Dan has built a tradition of success, pride, sportsmanship and character that has made this program a stand out in the Springs area and the state. His commitment to the sport and to the players is something I seek to attain as a coach myself.” –Colorado Springs Christian School coach Jason Rollins … “Coach Tomas Martinez from Cheyenne Mountain has represented the Metro League with class and loyalty for years, and he has already stepped up as a leader in the new Pikes Peak. He is an excellent representative of southern Colorado soccer.” –Vista Ridge coach Steve Dimit.
Other nominees: Kyle Alford, Jorge Zarate, Diane Shuck, Carter Sandras, Gary Spencer, Alex Fulton, Nick Odil, Jacob Morales, Vic Garcia, Casey O’Connor and Jack Busher.
Coach: Jon Shub (5th season)
Last year: 12-3-1 (state qualifier)
Key players: Eric Cano, sr.; Josh Story, sr.; Luis Palomera, sr.; Andy Giallombardo, jr.
Outlook: A first-round departure from the state tournament last year left a bad taste in the Spartans’ mouths and will provide more than enough motivation for the talented team in 2012.
Coach: Dwayne Freeman (4th season)
Last year: 5-9-1
Key players: Seth Lake, sr., MID; Daniel May, sr., MID; Taylor Hadley, soph., F; Brandon Kannas, sr., DEF.
Outlook: Team soccer is the mantra for the young Trojans in 2012 as they face an uphill battle for one of only two guaranteed playoff spots for the league.
Coach: Gregg Braha (2nd season)
Last year: 10-6 (state qualifier)
Key players: Josh Holley, sr., MID; Kyle Spillane, sr., MID; Ross Johnson, sr., DEF; Jesse Lehman, sr., DEF; Alex LesCarbeau, sr., MID.
Outlook: The Lancers will need to heavily rely on their senior leadership after losing 12 seniors from a year ago, two players to developmental academies and two current seniors to season-ending injuries. Braha had 19 freshmen come out for the 2012 squad, so depth will be there in future seasons.
Coach: Eric Lichaa (3rd season)
Last year: 0-13-2
Key players: Alex Valdez, jr., DEF; Max Morrison, sr., MID; Efrain Adames, jr., F; Jin Jae Kim, jr., MID; Dominic Goerker, jr., F/MID.
Outlook: A winless season last year won’t deter the Terrors in 2012, as they look to be competitive every game behind a group of upperclassmen with ample potential.
Coach: Ben Corley (12th season)
Last year: 5-9-2 (state qualifier)
Key players: Dave Meyer, jr., GK; Aaron Haefner, soph., DEF; Ryan Jeffers, sr., F; Connor Flynn, sr., CF; Alex Cullen, jr., MID.
Outlook: The Eagles return all but two starters from a team that took No. 10 Regis to penalty kicks in the playoffs and have possibly the most depth in school history.
Coach: Tony Gonzalez-Padron (3rd season)
Last year: 6-4-3
Key players: Kyle Alford, sr., GK; Tim Hahn, jr., F; Reid Bartels, jr., DEF; Brendan Reich, soph., F; Mario Mandel, fr., MID.
Outlook: The Rams lost 10 seniors to graduation, but bring in a host of new players, including a duo from Burma, to this year’s hungry and talented squad.
Coach: Matt Brickell (26th season)
Last year: 8-7-1 (state qualifier)
Key players: A.J. Johnson, Mason Telander, Schyler Vandersluis, Jonathan Raymond, Brandon Hellem.
Outlook: The Cougars have a number of returning starters, but begin the season unsure, as many team members have been affected by the area’s summer fires.
Coach: Brian Jewell (4th season)
Last year: 1-11-2
Key players: Alan Munoz, sr., GK; Brandon Bauman, sr., MID; Jorge Guzman, jr., MID/F.
Outlook: Extremely young a year ago, Harrison expects to have a much-improved squad this season and to be a dark-horse contender for the CSML title.
Coach: Brett Humphrey (5th season)
Last year: 3-11-1
Key players: Jorge Contreras, sr., F; Usbaldo Cruz, sr., MID; Angel Flores, jr., F/MID; Efrain Cejudo, jr., DEF; Julio Mendoza, soph., DEF.
Outlook: With a talented group of upperclassmen – highlighted by all-state selection Contreras – the Marauders expect to flip-flop their number of wins and losses from last season despite question marks at the goalie position.
Coach: Nathan Pearsall (2nd season)
Last year: 3-11
Key players: Juan Cerda, soph., DEF; Adrian Martinez, sr., F; Julian De La Torre, sr., MID.
Outlook: The Stallions should be more competitive this season, as they return a number of starters and have a strong group of seniors.
Coach: Chas Frisco (1st season)
Last year: 6-7-2
Key players: Ali Zangeneh; Hunter Filonowich; Jose Jaimes; Arnold Macedo.
Outlook: A new coaching staff will rely on the Thunderbirds’ group of upperclassmen to carry the load as they look to improve on a solid season in 2011.
Coach: Karl Anderson (2nd season)
Last year: 5-10
Key players: Tre Taylor, sr., GK; Jared Folk, sr., MID; Brandon Toves, sr., F; Daniel Creamer, sr., DEF; Sean Creamer, soph., DEF.
Outlook: The senior-laden Gladiators will rely on their upperclassmen for leadership and expect to contend in the realigned CSML.
4A PIKES PEAK
Coach: Espen Hosoien (10th season)
Last year: 15-3 (state quarterfinalist)
Key players: Alex Granados, jr., MID/F; John Sims, jr., MID/DEF; McKabe Helle, sr., DEF/MID; Connor Claus, jr., DEF/MID; Austin Dewing, soph., F.
Outlook: Despite losing most of their starters from 2011 to graduation or the USDA, the Kadets return a load of talent and have a number of transfers and freshmen who could also make an impact as they remain one of the city’s top 4A teams.
Coach: Tomas Martinez (4th season)
Last year: 14-4 (state quarterfinalist)
Key players: Andrew Bauer, sr., MID; Tyler Burns, sr., F; John Herd, jr., DEF.
Outlook: The Indians return a great deal of talent and have upperclassmen leadership that should make them a force in 4A again this year.
Coach: Bill McMaster (sixth season)
Last year: 8-6-1
Key players: Matt Alcon, MID; Joe Skarda, F; Alex MacKenzie, MID; Alex Fulton, DEF.
Outlook: The Thunder lost its only varsity goalie from last year and have asked a number of players, including Skarda, to play new positions in 2012. McMaster expects the young team to be more complete and balanced than last season.
Coach: Brian Barkey (1st season)
Last year: 6-9-1 (state qualifier)
Key players: Brendan Heer, sr.; Marcus Midzor, sr.; Payton Briscoe, sr.; Andrew Allen, jr.; Casey O’Connor, jr.
Outlook: With four quality seniors and a group of dependable juniors, Lewis-Palmer should be a tough opponent for everyone on its schedule once again this season.
Coach: Nick Odil (5th season)
Last year: 12-5 (state qualifier)
Key players: Owen Braley, sr., MID; Andrew Bell, sr., DEF; Alex Tillberry, sr., DEF; Luke Sinkola, sr., F; Jacob Escobedo, sr., F.
Outlook: The Bears have 12 seniors and a number of returning letter-winners, so 2012 could be the year they not only take a league crown, but also make a run at state.
Coach: Jeremy Tafoya (2nd season)
Last year: 11-5-1 (state qualifier)
Key players: Donald Tafoya, sr., F; Nestor Hernandez, sr., MID; Austin Linkous, sr., MID; Justin Glivar, jr., MID.
Outlook: A talented group of Scorpions return in 2012 and have their sights set on making a big run at the state tournament after losing in the second round a year ago.
Coach: Steve Dimit (2nd season)
Last year: 8-6-2
Key players: Silas Hendrich, sr., MID; Josh Cushman, jr., F; Troy Rodrigues, sr., MID; Jeremiah Stenger, jr., DEF; Jonathan Koch, jr., MID.
Outlook: The Wolves return six starters and the core of the team responsible for more than 70 percent of last season’s goals as they look to ride the momentum of the school’s first playoff berth.
4A SOUTH CENTRAL
Coach: Pat Callahan (26th season)
Last year: 10-5-1 (state qualifier)
Key players: Michael Mann, jr., F; Jack Roberts, sr., GK; Ryan Ford, sr., MID; Devin Freda, sr., MID.
Outlook: The Tigers return five key starters from last year’s state-qualifying squad, but will need a number of less-experienced players to step up and fill in the gaps.
3A BLACK FOREST
Coach: Amos White (15th season)
Last year: 3-11-1
Key players: Hunter Golden, jr., DEF/MID; Tristen Beck, jr., DEF/MID; Quinn Adam, soph., GK; Jae Hyoung Lee, jr., F/MID.
Outlook: It could be another long year in the ultra-tough 3A ranks for the extremely young Kodiaks, who have 12 freshmen and sophomores on the varsity roster.
Coach: Jason Rollins (1st season)
Last year: 14-4 (state quarterfinalist)
Key players: Matt Struttmann, sr., MID; Connor Stephens, jr., DEF/MID.
Outlook: Rollins takes over for Dan Egeler, who took the program to prominence in recent years, and will have his work cut out for him after losing a whopping 14 players to graduation.
Coach: Kevin Goos (3rd season)
Last year: 2-11-1
Key players: Andrew Bostrum, sr., MID; Caleb Wolfe, sr., GK; Eric Lefever, sr., MID.
Outlook: The Eagles will be mixing a group of seniors with several new players as they look to improve on a tough 2011 campaign.
Coach: Derek Segesdy (3rd season)
Last year: 11-5 (state qualifier)
Key players: Matt Gilbert, sr., GK; Joe Colarelli, jr., DEF; Manolo Jimenez, jr., F; Brian Lee, jr., F; Shale Hunter, soph., DEF.
Outlook: Jimenez and Lee form one of the city’s top 1-2 offensive tandems, and they will be looked upon to lead a talented team that includes players from Mexico, Korea and Germany.
Coach: Ben Mack (10th season)
Last year: 7-9 (state qualifier)
Key players: Sawyer Lincoln, jr., F; Mitch Patterson, jr., MID; Zach Strickland, sr., MID; Gunnar Svenby, soph., DEF; Carter Sandras, soph., GK/DEF.
Outlook: Added depth to a team that was considerably young last season could help Manitou Springs return to the 3A playoffs yet again. Lincoln scored 43 goals in his first two seasons.
Coach: Lou Sagastume (6th season)
Last year: 13-5 (state quarterfinalist)
Key players: Jacob Morales, sr., DEF; Jacob Calhoun, sr., GK; Alex Thomas, sr., F; Tommy King, jr., F; Josh McCarty, sr., DEF; Mike Cannon, sr., F.
Outlook: Even though Sagastume has termed this season as a “rebuilding year,” the Pirates return a ton of talent to a number of positions and will be a force in 2012.
Coach: Blake Galvin (8th season)
Last year: 18-2 (state runner-up)
Key players: Evan Young, sr., MID; Nate Ziegler, sr., MID; Micah Mesward, soph., GK.
Outlook: Led by all-state performer Young – who holds school records in virtually every offensive category – the Titans will once again be a force in 2012. How far they will go, Galvin says, depends on how the team’s chemistry develops during the season.