FORT COLLINS — What the Monarch Coyotes boys soccer team is doing is nothing short of remarkable.

After a summer of chaos and consternation that had players, parents and administrators questioning everything about their recently hired soccer coach, it got even stranger just a week before the start of the season.

The coach that was brought in was quickly let go and the search for emergency guidance was hasty.

In stepped Balen Arenas, who  was assisting Jeff Frykholm at Fairview when he got the call.

"Honestly the hardest thing has been learning all the names," Arenas said.

Despite every single distraction and every roadblock placed in front of the Coyotes, they have found a way to overcome. And on Thursday afternoon, they faced their biggest test of the season against sixth-ranked Fossil Ridge — a Class 5A semifinalist last season — and walked away with a 0-0 draw.

Not only have the Coyotes yet to lose a game (3-0-1), they have yet to surrender a goal in 340 minutes of play.

"I really like this team and they are working really hard for me and that's the biggest thing I can ask of them as I get to know them," Arenas said. "For me, this game proves that they will be right in there at the end of the season.

"That's what I want to see. Be competitive, can we play an attractive brand of soccer while building them to where I want?"


How bad did it get for the Coyotes?

"It has been brutal ... there just wasn't a lot of structure and a lot of confusion (before Arenas arrived)," senior captain Macklin Harrington said.

"But we have a lot of talent and the physicality is there, so the hard work is just going to bring us closer together and pretty soon we'll be to the point where we are not only physically good, but we will be mentally strong and work together."

On Thursday Monarch was definitely on its heels against the Sabercats, but their defensive structure never broke down and they didn't make things easy for Fossil Ridge.

The man-of-the-match for the Coyotes was goalie Hank Dalle-Molle. He finished with 11 saves overall — including a dandy just six minutes into the match against Fossil's Danny Bostock as well as two in the final minute of double overtime when the Sabercats threw everything they had at him.

"I'm surprised we were able to stick (the whole ordeal) out as a team and I think that has helped us significantly in our performances," said Harrington, who admitted nobody was happy and that action needed to be taken. "We all bonded over the fact we faced that hardship. It wasn't one or two of us, it was all of us and we've worked hard to get where we are."

Monarch will try to keep it going next Tuesday at home against Horizon.

Jon Yunt: or


At Fossil Ridge

Monarch (3-0-1, 0-0-1)0000—0Fossil Ridge (1-0-1, 0-0-1)0000—0

Goals (assists) — None.

Goalies (Min-Goals allowed-Saves) — Monarch: Hank Dalle-Molle (99-0-11), Adrien Nii (1-0-0); Fossil Ridge: Logan Wette (100-0-2).