PLAYERS TO KNOW
Gabe Antunez, Sr., Centaurus — After scoring nine goals and five assists in 2013, senior will be expected to continue wearing down the opposition for the Warriors.
Scott Avirett, Jr., Holy Family — The Tigers’ move will necessitate everyone to be smart on the pitch, and Avirett seems to pick and choose his battles wisely.
Brian Castruita, Jr., Boulder — Junior already has a lot of big-game experience and will need to be a leader in the midfield for Panthers.
Daniel Griffith, Jr., Peak to Peak — He’s the motor that’s always running for the Pumas, and head coach Joe Swanson thinks that will turn into goals this year.
Billy Hoffman, Sr., Niwot — Could be one of several Cougars that amp up the scoring this year.
Quinn Liebmann, Sr., Boulder — Already committed to Division-I Old Dominion, Liebmann will get his chance in the spotlight for the Panthers.
Raul Magno, Sr., Fairview — The playmaker of Fairview’s midfield, Magno not only shows great vision and timing but has personality on the pitch, too.
Porter Milner, Jr., Broomfield — The Eagles might have it tougher overall in the 5A ranks, but it is widely agreed Milner will be as good as anyone game-by-game.
Casey Munsch, Sr., Fairview — With a full season, Munsch should be among the leading goal-scorers in the area as the Knights contend in the Front Range League.
Cruz Valdez, Sr., Skyline — Senior will look to regain the form that saw him score 13 goals as a sophomore.
Regular season for all three classifications must be complete by Oct. 17. Playoffs begin on Oct. 22 with 32-team seeded brackets for each class, leading up to championship games on Nov. 8 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City.
Coach: Hardy Kalisher (Ninth season)
Last year: 15-4-0 overall; 9-1-0 Front Range League
Returning starters: Brian Castruita (Jr., MID); Mitchell Davis (Sr., DEF); Jack Dooley (Jr., FWD); Sushant Gurung (Sr., MID); Quinn Liebmann (Sr., MID)
Others to watch: Jaime Astorga (Jr., MID); Aidan Longhurst (Jr., MID); Gabriel Nascimento (Sr., MID); Michael O’Herron (Sr., MID); Matthew Radzihovsky (Jr., MID)
Outlook: The Panthers reload every season as one of the top 5A teams but will have challenges in replacing a top-tier scorer and goalie. Liebmann, who has committed to Old Dominion, will direct things out on the pitch, while Gurung remains a spunky, always-going-full-tilt player. Castruita is a three-year starter and Davis will be asked to keep teams going to wrong direction.
Coach: Jim Davidson (18th season)
Last year: 13-3-2 overall in 4A; 7-0-1 Northern League
Returning starters: Luke Cangilla (Jr., FWD); Tyler Duggan (Jr., DEF); Michael Genge (Jr., GK); Tyler Hulst (Jr., MID); Porter Milner (Jr., MID); Chris Sharkey (Sr., DEF)
Others to watch: Joe Clouse (Sr., MID); Justin Hamm (Jr., DEF); Daulton Logan (So., MID); Connor Mascarenas (Sr., FWD); Luke Oberto (So., MID); Armando Ocampo (So., FWD); Joe Weiss (Sr., MID)
Outlook: The Eagles will be fully prepared for the leap to 5A and should immediately figure into the mix for the Front Range League championship, though they will be in a tougher situation from top to bottom. Milner is one of the area’s premier players, and Cangilla should provide steadiness at striker. Defensively in front of Genge, Davidson said he feels strongly about his team’s organizational skills.
Coach: Ken Ebersole (28th season)
Last year: 10-8-0 overall; 4-4-0 Northern League
Returning starters: Gabe Antunez (Sr., FWD); Fernando Cerceda (Sr., DEF); Ventura Dominguez (Sr., GK); Jose Espin (Sr., DEF/MID); Chenchar Lee (Sr., MID)
Others to watch: Jeremy Balderama (Jr., MID); Gunner Bickel (So., MID); Nick Esler (So., DEF); Bergen Grant (So., MID); Jackson Krebil (Jr., MID); Kensy Xiong (Sr., MID)
Outlook: The Warriors are getting some love in the polls, but Ebersole is expecting a little time to pass before roles are fully established. Antunez and Lee were very effective around the goal in 2013 and should be reliable again, and Espin, Cerceda and Dominguez played in every game. Xiong returns after sitting out all of last year because of injury. The setup is such that Centaurus finds a lot of ways to get the job done, and that could mean contending for the Northern League title.
DAWSON SCHOOL MUSTANGS
Coach: David Martinez (First season)
Last year: 7-8-0 overall; 6-1-0 Class 3A Region 7
Returning starters: Chase Brown (Sr., DEF); Brooks Defrees (Jr., MID); Tanner Fulkerson (Jr., FWD); Sebastian Grigore (So., MID); Jose Gutierrez (Sr., MID); Zachariah Morgan (So., DEF); Carlos Veraza (Sr., MID)
Others to watch: None
Outlook: Martinez, who has coached the girls team the past two seasons, takes over on the boys side hoping to provide some stability in the program. He is looking to change to a 4-3-3 formation with the intention of possessing the ball significantly more and avoiding the long ball. Gutierrez is a prime offensive talent, and Fulkerson distributes the ball very well. An 8-0 loss in last year’s playoffs should serve as motivation to tighten up defensively, too.
Coach: Dayton Owens (First season)
Returning starters: Program’s first year of varsity play
Others to watch: Brandon Cummings (Jr., MID); Joshua Michels (Jr., FWD); Harrison Wagnaar (Jr., DEF/MID)
Outlook: Owens has coached different levels for three decades, and he’s marveled at the support the team has seen so far after undergoing a coaching change (Shane Smith was originally hired but moved out of state). There will be a bevy of sophomores as starters, and Owens will likely deploy multiple systems depending on how the opposition sets up. Overall, they should be competitive in the Tri-Valley.
Coach: Stan Jozwiak (33rd season)
Last year: 12-3-1 overall; 9-1-0 Front Range League
Returning starters: Wyatt Dessell (Jr., DEF); Luis Flores (Sr., FWD); Nick Lyon (Sr., DEF); Raul Magno (Sr., MID); Andre Miller (Jr., FWD); Casey Munsch (Sr., FWD); Alex Weseman (Jr., FWD); Daniel Windsor (Sr., MID)
Others to watch: Nathan Biesterfeld (So., MID); Anthony Covell (Jr., DEF); Andy Vaughn (Sr., FWD); Alex Wright (Sr., GK)
Outlook: Fairview was upset in the first round of the playoffs last year against a tough Heritage team, and Jozwiak does not want that to be lost on the players coming back. The Knights are in line to be Front Range League title contenders again, with some electricity coming from Magno in the midfield. Munsch and Flores are both creative up top, while Jozwiak also said he likes the experience in front of a new goalie, Wright. Vaughn is returning from a serious knee injury.
FAITH BAPTIST PIONEERS
Outlook: The school was in the process of searching for a coach as of press time.
Coach: J Doehring (First season)
Last year: 2-13-0 overall; 1-9-0 Tri-Valley League
Returning starters: Victor Avalos (Jr., GK); Jared Campbell (Sr., MID); Joan Chavarria (Jr., DEF/MID); Jake Doud (Sr., DEF); Abel Huerta (Jr., FWD); Justin Wu (Jr., DEF/MID)
Others to watch: None
Outlook: After coaching Brighton for nine years, Doehring took some time off but is back in the game looking to change the fortunes of the Warriors program (9-36 record the past three years). In fact, he said his current situation is like that of the Bulldogs when he took over, and he’s hoping to build quickly. Campbell will anchor the team in the midfield, and some freshmen could end up frequently on the pitch.
HOLY FAMILY TIGERS
Coach: Kathy Hogan (Third season)
Last year: 11-6-0 overall; 4-4-0 Class 3A Region 6
Returning starters: Scott Avirett (Jr., MID/FWD); Noah Baum (Jr., MID); Paul Elliott (Jr., DEF); Brandon Floyd (Jr., MID); Joseph Fountaine (So., DEF); Christian Guerrero (Sr., FWD); Connor Holland (Jr., GK); Matthew Hren (Jr., DEF); Dylan Lucko (So., MID/FWD); Benjamin Silverstein (Jr., DEF); Robert Wyton (Jr., GK/FWD)
Others to watch: Lorenzo Centeno (Fr., MID); Wilson Finocchiaro (So., MID); Matthew Fountaine (Fr., MID)
Outlook: Hogan has lofty goals as the Tigers move up to 4A, and the Tri-Valley League could be in for a surprise after Skyline has completely dominated the past couple seasons. Guerrero scored 12 goals last year and should remain potent on attack, while Avirett is coming off a nice sophomore campaign. Wyton started most of the games between the pipes, surrendering just about one goal a game. There will be some big minutes coming from the underclassmen.
JEFFERSON ACADEMY JAGUARS
Coach: Matt Cassell (Third season)
Last year: 7-9-0 overall; 3-6-0 Class 3A Region 6
Returning starters: Lucas Almeida (So., MID); Chase Bennett (Sr., DEF); Nate Brons (Sr., DEF); Adrian Calderon (Jr., FWD); Dylan Johnson (Jr., MID); Kile Kelly (So., DEF); Brandon Leeper (So., MID); Ryan Moss (Sr., GK); Devin Weller (Sr., FWD)
Others to watch: None
Outlook: The Jaguars continue to move in positive ways in 3A, as they made the playoffs for the first time in the program’s second varsity year. Cassell is seeing his numbers increase steadily, too, and realistically an Elite Eight appearance is not out of the question. Three seniors (Bennett, Brons, Moss) anchor the back end, while Weller can be a next-level player.
Coach: Tony Romano (Sixth season)
Last year: 3-10-2 overall; 3-6-1 Front Range League
Returning starters: Jonah Cavender (Sr., FWD); Tate Collison (Jr., GK); Brandon Headrick (Sr., MID); Trent Headrick (Jr., MID); (Kyle Hitzman (Jr., GK); Riley Johnson (Jr., DEF); Adam Leash (Sr., DEF); Jacob Stringfellow (Sr., DEF)
Others to watch: Matteo Chavez-Vitale (Jr., FWD); Ben Dolph (Sr., MID); Noah Horesh (Sr., DEF); Jordan Lester (Jr., MID); Alfredo Macha (Sr., DEF); Josh Thompson (Jr., FWD)
Outlook: Romano acknowledged the Front Range League might have gotten even tougher with Broomfield’s entrance and that a playoff spot might be incredibly hard to attain, but he is confident the Lightning bring more experience to the table in 2014. Legacy will undergo systematic changes to hopefully generate more offense — they punched in just 14 goals last season. Cavender will likely be an essential piece to that attack.
Coach: Mike DiGiallonardo (Second season)
Last year: 7-8-0 overall; 2-6-0 Northern League
Returning starters: Joel Chavez (Jr., GK); Jacob DiGiallonardo (Sr., FWD/MID); Jacob Moin (Sr., DEF); Francisco Razo Munoz (Sr., MID/FWD); Sam Waugaman (Jr., FWD/MID)
Others to watch: Orlando Alaniz (Fr., MID)
Outlook: The Trojans did not qualify for the playoffs in 2013 as they took some lumps in the Northern League schedule, and while the slate is not any easier, Longmont has worked hard on conditioning. Waugaman is the team’s most trustworthy returning scorer, but Munoz could be in line for some good opportunities up front, too. Win or lose, DiGiallonardo said he’s looking forward to working with a group of seniors that has played for him all through their childhood.
Coach: Marcelo Balboa (Third season)
Last year: 5-9-1 overall; 2-7-1 Front Range League
Returning starters: Thomas Alder (Jr., FWD/MID); Daniel Bricker (Jr., DEF); Jack Byrnestad (Jr., MID); Matt Capitelli (Sr., MID); Zack Langer (Jr., DEF); Austin Sehnert (Jr., DEF)
Others to watch: None
Outlook: The Coyotes were just a couple breaks away from being the talk of the league last year, coming up on the short end of four one-goal losses. Some seasoning and continued work in Balboa’s system should change that this year. Thomas De Faria did depart the MHS team for the Rapids Academy, but Monarch will rely on a load of juniors this year, including Bricker and Sehnert. Those two manning the interior defense give Balboa confidence that the team can play aggressively for scoring chances.
Coach: Rob Johnson (Fifth season)
Last year: 11-4-1 overall; 7-2-1 Northern League
Returning starters: Justin Barkow (Jr., FWD); Jack Fitzgerald (Sr., GK); Billy Hoffman (Sr., MID); Angel Perez (Sr., MID); Terin Tadewald (Jr., DEF); Tou Xiong (Sr., MID)
Others to watch: Mark Ramirez (Jr., FWD)
Outlook: The Cougars have some nice pieces in place to be considered a top dog in the Northern League, likely contending with Centaurus for that honor. Johnson is expecting Hoffman to have a huge year, while Barkow is a heady player that has proven capable of finding open teammates. Niwot is looking to brush off last year’s sour second-round playoff defeat — the shortest postseason stint since Johnson’s first year.
PEAK TO PEAK PUMAS
Coach: Joe Swanson (First season)
Last year: 6-9-1 overall; 3-4-1 Class 3A Region 6
Returning starters: Miguel Arriaga (So., FWD); Nathan Dee (Jr., MID); Daniel Griffith (Jr., MID); Justin Kalloor (Jr., MID); Brian Martinez (Sr., DEF); Areeb Rohilla (Jr., MID); Will Swanson (Sr., MID)
Others to watch: Nate Fangman (Fr., GK); Brandon Lefkowitz (Fr.)
Outlook: Swanson has been in the pipeline at P2P for awhile, so most of the players are familiar with his systems as they try and rebound from a sub-.500 season. The first order of business is to solidify the defense in front of Fangman, who is an experienced goalie in club soccer. The midfield should be able to control a lot of the play, with Griffith and Dee likely shouldering the bulk of the scoring responsibilities.
SILVER CREEK RAPTORS
Coach: Vytas Rauba (First season)
Last year: 10-6-1 overall; 5-2-1 Northern League
Returning starters: Ryan Aragon (Sr., MID); Brooks Salgado (Sr., DEF/MID); Sean Peskin (Jr., MID)
Others to watch: Matthew Carson (Sr., GK)
Outlook: Rauba is still just settling in with his team, but he feels there is some talent despite the overall youth on the squad. It’s going to take time to figure out where everyone best fits on the field in his 4-4-2 scheme, but once that happens the Raptors could end up bearing down the tracks with a full head of steam. Goal production is a question mark.
Coach: Luis Chavez (Fifth season)
Last year: 11-5-0 overall; 10-0-0 Tri-Valley League
Returning starters: Jonathan Flores (Jr., DEF/MID); Ulises Garcia (Jr., MID/FWD); Gerardo Meza (Sr., DEF/MID); Andres Mosqueda (Sr., DEF/MID); Marco Rodriguez (Jr., MID/FWD); Noah Sanders (Sr., DEF/MID); Irvin Sierra (Sr., DEF/MID/FWD); Cruz Valdez (Sr., MID/FWD)
Others to watch: Noel Garcia (Sr., GK/MID); Marquis Harrison (Sr., DEF/MID/FWD); Carlo Jordano (Jr., MID/FWD); Austin Layton (Sr., DEF/MID); Gustavo Nunez (Sr., DEF/MID); Luis Rodriguez (Sr., DEF/MID/FWD); Jonathan Sanchez (Sr., MID); Jordan Wright (Sr., DEF/MID); Cesar Yanez (Sr., MID/FWD);
Outlook: Skyline ran the table in the Tri-Valley last year, an impressive feat, only to be ousted in the first round of the postseason. Chavez feels strongly the team is athletically gifted but needs to toughen up a bit more, especially at the end of the year. Sanders and Valdez lead a pack of seniors that bring plenty to the pitch.
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