Menís soccer seeks return to glory

By Calvin Domingo - Staff Reporter



To some on the team, this past season for Highline men's soc- cer was considered a success. To others, it was considered a disap- pointment.

"I personally would consider last season as mediocre, we didn't achieve our goals, but we did im- prove through the season," sopho- more to-be, and forward Alex Vel- asco said.

Despite the T-Birds being heavy favorites all season to repeat as NWAC champions, the Thunder- birds eventually fell to the What- com Orcas in the semifinals of the playoffs, 2-0.

"I think our mindsets weren't right," sophomore to-be, and goal- keeper Alex Weaver said about what happened in last season's earlier than-expected playoff exit. "As a team, we went into the game a little bit full of ourselves, and the

other team just wanted it more in the end. That's what gave them the edge over us."

However, the expectations for next season remain the same. If any- thing, last season's disappointing oust from the playoffs has fired up players and coaches alike.

"As a team, we look to concede as little goals as possible," Weaver said. "As obvious as that sounds, we mean it. We focus a lot on defensive work during our practices, especially de- fensive communication. We're going to look to concede the least amount of goals in the NWAC next year, and of course, win it."

For the team to reach its full poten- tial and avoid a repeat of last season's let-down, there are weaknesses that must be addressed.

"I'd have to say our biggest weak- ness was our chemistry, we had great individuals and had all the pieces to become the best, but just needed to put the puzzle together," Velasco said.

As for notable departures from last season's squad, sophomores Noah Runsvold, Tucker Davidson, Ryley Johnson, Dylan Murphy, Ja- son Rodriguez, Wobi Torujo, make up part of the list, among others.

"Our team chemistry was defi- nitely one of the things I'll miss next year," Weaver said. "Out of all my years playing soccer, the friendships made this year were some of the best, and with those sophomores that are leaving. Those are the bonds I'll miss, as well as hope to build on with the incoming recruits next year."

Fans can look forward to the up- coming season as the Thunderbirds will open the season late in August.

"I'm looking forward to playing with a lot of new players and making a family; our expectations are defi- nitely to win the NWAC Champi- onship and improve ourselves every day," Velasco said. "I have only seen a couple recruits, but I do feel strong about them and I feel like they will connect good with our style of play."

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