Men's soccer hunting for title
By Colin Phan - Staff Reporter
The men's soccer team's hopes to build on last season's success and compete for an NWAC championship next season will require overcoming key losses and integrating a group of new players.
The T-Birds were 10-1-1 last season, winning a third consecutive NWAC West Division title under Head Coach Steve Mohn.
Highline was on the cusp of the title game, losing to Spokane during the quarter finals last November, 2-1.
But the loss for Highline's annual quest for a league championship didn't quite stop there. The team lost two critical captains this offseason. Replacing them for next season's title quest will be crucial.
"We will be losing two of our captains in Marco Mazon, and Jandja Maherero," Mohn said. "They will be tough guys to replace, not just on the field, but off of it as well."
And it's not just the two captains, the loss of sophomores like Tino Lopez-Slish, Ulesis Zepada, and Marcello Castro will be felt, Mohn said.
"They will all be missed," Mohn said. "Every one of them has put in a lot of work over the last two to three seasons, and have made their mark on the Highline soccer program."
Despite the losses, Mohn said he can see the success continuing next year.
"We had a successful season last year with a very young team," Mohn said. "I think with the players we have returning and the group of incoming players, we have a great chance of repeating as division champions and making a push towards an NWAC championship."
Leadership is a quality of a winning team.
Mohn said that this year's freshman class has exuded just that.
"We had very good leadership as a team last year," Mohn said. "Not just from our sophomores, but from the freshman as well. I will be looking for some of those freshmen to emerge as the leaders of our team next season."
Similar to leadership, competition for playing time is a quality of a winning team.
Mohn said he expects to see that with next year's group of players.
"There is going to be good competition from returners and incoming players for starting spots and playing time next year," Mohn said. "I'm very excited about the group of guys we have."
Next year's freshman class will be headlined by Mount Rainier High School star forward Briskans Shibale, whom Mohn coached at Mount Rainier. Also expected to join the team is redshirt sophomore Jonah Phillips, who will transfer from Tacoma.
The T-Birds may see several freshman return for next season, including Cody Parke, Daniel Miller, and Dallas Bohanan.
With strong additions to the team and the returning players, Mohn said the T-Birds should be able to meet their season goals.
"We set goals at the beginning of each year," Mohn said. "Our two main goals are to win our division and win the NWAC championship."