Most of the time, when a program graduates 12 the season prior, the following year, the expectation is a significant step-back in a team’s success. For Mountain Range soccer, however, this scenario …
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Most of the time, when a program graduates 12 the season prior, the following year, the expectation is a significant step-back in a team’s success. For Mountain Range soccer, however, this scenario doesn’t apply as 11 experienced, and talented veterans headline a team ready to take the next step in 2019.
“At the end of the day, we are hoping they (seniors) can lead us to a more successful season than a year ago,” Mountain Range third-year coach Matt Degitis said last week. “We hit a huge milestone last year with the seniors we had, and we made the playoffs for the first time in a decade, which was awesome. We have some big shoes to fill, but now that these boys have had a taste of that, my hope is that they are hungry for more. A taste of playoff-fever can really do great things for a team.”
Mountain Range began their season 9-2-1, outscoring the opposition, 34-15, before dropping their final four games of the season, including a 3-2 defeat to Rangeview (12-5) in the opening round of 5A state playoffs.
A sloppy first 43 minutes of the contests buried MR despite making it close and playing exceptionally well the final 37 minutes against the Raiders.
The Mustangs will have to make-up for 17 goals that last year’s seniors accumulated. However, upcoming seniors led by Isaac Medina, Kaloyan Barov, John Colvin and Bryson Riedel anticipate to pick up the slack in that category. Other young players could also prove as key factors battling for time in an already crowded starting lineup.
“They (underclassmen) will be fighting for spots and positions in the lineup in which there won’t be many,” Degitis said. “While we lost 12 seniors last year, the reality is when we graduate these seniors this year, we will be graduating a starting lineup in a lot of ways.”
Despite the high-ceiling potential for the Mustangs, a tough 5A Front Range Conference won’t make things easy as seven teams, including MR, finished with a record above .500 a season ago.
“We are without question in the No. 1 conference in the state in regards to boys soccer. I’m excited. I think these boys can compete, and are up to the task,” Degitis said. “My hope is to get these boys back into the playoffs because you have to make the dance if you’re going to win a state championship.”
It promises to be a long, but exciting season, he said.
“It doesn’t matter if you go in 31 (seed), doesn’t matter if you go in at seven (seed), I want them to fight their way back in,” he said. “The reality is that we are going to have to take it one game at a time.”
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