16 August 2013

Boys Soccer: More records to chase

Tiger hopefuls test their skills in an early scrimmage

Tiger fortunes have improved markedly over the past two seasons. In 2011 coach Julian Buss' squad posted the program first winning season (8-7-2) and last fall's 4-2-1 run and third place finish in the Missota Conference tied two other school standards.

The 2013 edition of Tiger boys soccer is hoping to add to that list of accomplishments.

"I would like to be on top in the final year of the Missota Conference," Buss said. "If we can play well against Holy Angels and Northfield I would think this could happen.

"We'd also like to have a strong performance in the section. The best way to do that would be to do well against (Rochester) Mayo, Northfield and Owatonna and get a No. 1 or No. 2 seed."

Thirteen of last year's 22 letterwinners graduated last spring but seven veterans return, including senior defenders Hunter Meyers and Eric Stoeckman; senior midfielders Blake Smith and Caleb Gochenour, senior forward Jared Wolt; junior midfielder Robin DeCastro and sophomore keeper Jake Agnew.

Blake Smith (photo by J. Lindquist)
Smith and Wolt won all-Missota Conference honorable mention honors last fall while Agnew saw playing time on all four levels (9th grade, B-Squad, JV and Varsity).

Others expected to vie for playing time this season include  seniors Jeffrey Gutierrez, Rafael Romero and Jake Spindler and juniors Nehemiah Rockett, Ryan Parco, Calvin Vue, Elie Kheirallah, Matt Dubois and Joey Herrera.

"The senior group has high expectations," Buss said. "They have led early morning practices four days a week during the summer in an effort to improve their play...The upperclassmen have played a lot of soccer together.

"This is also by far the fastest team I have had. Many of the players are also leaders on the track team."
Buss said depth and durability will be two of his team's chief concerns. One veteran, Jeffrey Hansen, has already been lost to injury and another moved out of the district. Hopefully, another big turnout of players will help alleviate some of that concern.

"I'm excited to see we have 60-plus boys out for the third straight year," Buss said. "It's also good to be able to run four levels again."

Robin DeCastro (photo by J. Lindquist)
 Buss has a former varsity coach in Loren Cartwright as an assistant (ninth grade) and the program has added two new assistants this fall, former JV coach Jason Kohlbeck and long-time assistant track and girls' basketball coach Joe McCarthy.

The Tigers open their 2013 campaign Thursday, Aug 22 whey entertain Rosemount in a 5:00 contest.

"This is really one of those anything is possible seasons," Buss said. "I'm really excited to see the boys in real game situations."