Douglas looking to be offensive this season
One word — attack — might be the best way to describe the key to success for the Douglas High boys soccer team this coming season.
You see, the Tigers are hoping more aggressive play on the offensive end can help them bounce back from a 2016 season in which they scored only nine goals en route to a 2-13-1 Northern 4A conference record.
“We have to beat everybody to the punch,” second-year Douglas coach Chase Zumpft said. “We can’t just sit back, we’ve got to attack, and I’ve got a bunch of guys who are attack-minded.”
The Tigers will take the field for an unofficial unveiling Thursday when they face an alumni team starting at 6 p.m. on the high school soccer field.
Douglas opens its regular season next week with three games on successive days. The Tigers play host to McQueen on Wednesday in a conference cross-over game, followed by a trip to South Tahoe on Aug. 31 and then to Truckee on Sept. 1.
Zumpft explained that the Tigers are well ahead of where they were at this time last year, when he was hired only two weeks before the start of practice.
“Last year was tough on them, they don’t want another season like that. I can see it and you can feel the positive attitude … they’re hungry,” he said. “The senior group we have, the camaraderie seems to be a lot better through the whole team. I think, overall, the season is going to be good.”
The Tigers have a couple of goals in mind, he added. One is to qualify for the region playoffs and the other is to win a couple of those games and qualify for the 4A state tournament in November.
“The kids have told me they want to go to the playoffs, so it will be a big disappointment if we don’t,” Zumpft said.
That optimism starts with seven returnees from a team that absorbed nine losses that were decided by two goals or less in 2016. Five of those games were decided by 1-0 or 2-1 scores.
“All of our games were close; we only got blown out twice,” Zumpft said.
Leading the returnees is senior forward Javi Vega, who is entering his fourth varsity season, while junior midfielder Brian Cervantes is in his third. Other varsity veterans include sophomore midfielder Camden Brown, plus defenders Beto Aguayo, Carson Shaw, Gera Flores, who are juniors, and senior Mario Meza. Meza is also expected to see time as a midfielder this season.
Senior Dennis Gingrich is stepping in as a first-year starter at goalkeeper.
“We’re solid through the back, we haven’t lost anything,” Zumpft said. “We’re solid across the midfield and I have some wingers who are solid.
“And hopefully our guys on top can find the back of the net. That was our problem last year. We’ve been doing a lot of shooting all summer long so we’ll see … it’s all up to them now.”