Demons expect more in ’08 |

Demons expect more in ’08

Jeff Caspersen
Glenwood Springs Colorado, CO
Kelley Cox Post Independent

Glenwood Springs”Last year’s middle-of-the-pack finish in the 4A Western Slope League landed Glenwood Springs the 32nd seed ” out of 32 teams ” in the state boys soccer playoffs.

The Demons want more from their 2008 campaign.

“We’re definitely looking to improve our seeding, to be competitive in the Western Slope League,” second-year head coach John Mount said. “Last year we were the 32 seed, which was unfortunate. I think we’ll have a good shot this year.”

Experience is what Mount believes will raise Glenwood to new heights.

Returning for the Demons is a core that includes senior forward Ryan Young, senior midfielder Fabian Tapia and junior defender Travis Whitman.

Throw in increased program interest and you have a Demon squad that has every opportunity to thrive.

“We had a huge interest come in,” Mount relayed. “We’ve just had a flush of kids come in ” 18 ninth-graders. That’s a record for us. We had 45 guys out for 35 positions [split between the varsity and junior varsity teams]. We had to cut 10 players, which is unfortunate, but a good problem to have.”

The Demons put up a 6-5-1 record in the 4A WSL last year and 6-8-1 overall mark to finish fourth overall in the standings behind league champ Battle Mountain, second-place Steamboat Springs and third-place Eagle Valley.

Mount expects the same schools to be in the mix this season.

“Battle Mountain’s always a contender,” Mount said. “They’re always really strong. Then you’ve got Eagle Valley. They looked really good last year, and Steamboat’s always tough. We won one and lost one to them last year.”

Mount sees no reason his Demons won’t contend, now and in the future when that huge contingent of younger players are seasoned and grow into leaders.

“We’ve definitely got a pretty exciting thing going,” he said. “Definitely.”

RIFLE ” When first-year Rifle head boys soccer coach Ryan Mahler passed out paperwork to his new players, he had them jot down a little something extra.

“I actually had them do goals when they turned it in,” he said. “I told them, ‘I want you guys to write three team and three personal goals.'”

What the players responded with varied. Mahler did notice a theme, though. The thing the Bears most want is to restore credibility to a program that suffered through a 4-10-1 season in 2007.

“A lot of them wanted to be .500. Some wanted to win more than two games. All their goals were realistic,” Mahler said. “I don’t think these kids got credit for their hard work last year. They’re working hard to prove people wrong about what they think of Rifle soccer.”

Mahler believes he’s got the squad to turn things around in Rifle.

Returning to the pitch is a nucleus that includes senior midfielders ” and twin brothers ” Ricky and Pablo Salgado, senior midfielder Kyle Zumbrennan and senior forward Anthony Bracamontes.

Mahler’s also optimistic about filling the void left by losing 12 seniors to graduation with up-and-coming young talent. And a few upperclassmen who are new to high school soccer.

Interest in Rifle soccer is up. Last week, the program’s numbers were hovering around 30 players to spread between the varsity and junior varsity teams.

With a program in good health numbers-wise, Mahler’s thrilled to get his tenure started at Rifle High School. He’s also eager to help the Bears return to respectability.

“I’m excited for the season,” he said. “We’re glad to be the underdogs.”

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