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Soccer kicks in

by Chuck Smock

Douglas boys’ soccer coach Mike Robinson was pleasantly surprised by the physical condition of his varsity squad during the first week of practice.

In fact, the coach said Thursday was the last day of two-a-day practices for the Tigers.

“They’re all in good shape,” Robinson said Thursday afternoon as the players ran through drills at Carson Valley Middle School. “They don’t need it anymore.”

The extra work the Tigers did on their own this summer should help them get off to a fast start this season, Robinson said. Because the players came into tryouts in good shape, Robinson and assistant coach Jack McCormack have been able to spend more time working on technique and strategy rather than conditioning.

Robinson plans to keep 20 players on his varsity roster. Co-captains T. J. Plummer and Dylan Sheridan are among the eight seniors who will be expected to lead the squad. Blake Hennessy York and Robbie Honer are the only members of a talented group of 11 juniors who have varsity playing experience.

“This is going to be a strong squad,” said Robinson, who added that he expects to take advantage of a deep bench throughout the season. “The system we’re going to play, they’re all going to get playing time.

“Defensively, we’re going to be as strong as we were last year. Offensively, we’re going to have to replace Jeremy (Louthan, who scored a school-record 31 goals last season).”

Douglas might not have another 30-goal man, but Robinson said Sheridan, Hennessy York and David Harder each has the potential to score in double-digit figures this year.

The Tigers will open the season next Saturday at McQueen. The Lancers shocked the Tigers in last year’s season-opener. Douglas responded by winning 18 consecutive games, but fell one game short of advancing to the state tournament.

“We’d like to start off the season a little better than we did last year,” Robinson said. “Some of the younger boys we had last season seem to have gotten stronger over the summer. And several players have improved more than we expected.”

Junior varsity coach Phil Sheridan was 18 players on his rosters. The Douglas JV is limited to freshmen and sophomores.

“Phil is particularly good at developing the younger players,” Robinson said. “That’s why we get a strong varsity squad.”