Glenwood hoping to build on ’08 success
Post Independent Staff
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Now that the Glenwood Springs boys soccer program has a taste of what it’s like to be one of the Western Slope’s top teams, the Demons are shifting their sights a little higher.
“They kind of got that taste of what it is to be in the top echelon of the Western Slope,” said third-year coach John Mount, who directed Glenwood to a 12-4-1 overall record and playoff victory in 2008. “They want to better themselves this year, going deeper into the playoff rounds. Probably the No. 1 priority is winning the Western Slope League. They’re pretty motivated.”
With 10 returning seniors, the pieces are in place to improve on last fall’s breakout campaign. Included in that veteran group are forwards Travis Whitman and Sydney Van Horn, who combined for 21 goals in 2008.
Also back are seniors Garrett Brown, Danny Weller, Clay Hawkins and Carson Wilde, who will move into the goalkeeping spot vacated by the graduated Kurt Hartmann.
“It’s kind of a senior sensation,” Mount said. “That’s what we’ve been calling it.”
And Glenwood’s talent isn’t concentrated solely in its senior class.
Players like junior Ryan Buchanan and sophomores Kevin Hartmann, Kellin Casey and Mike McGraw will also be counted on to contribute.
Mount believes he has just the right blend of veterans and youngsters to make a run at a 4A Western Slope League title.
“We expect to be near the top of the league,” he said. “It’s always good competition. The seniors really want to take league this year. They’re really focused.”
Battling eligibility issues, the early part of the season could be a struggle for Rifle.
As of late last week, second-year coach Ryan Mahler wasn’t entirely sure who he’d have in the fold by the time Thursday’s season opener against visiting Coal Ridge rolls around.
“If we can do alright the first six weeks, then we’ll get some of those guys back,” the young coach said. “We’ll definitely start playing better ball when we have the players. It’s tough. We’ll just have to wait and see.”
Mahler will lean on the likes of seniors Brandon Borgard and Dru Marlow, juniors Julio Aguirre and Hector Ruiz and sophomore goalkeeper Keith McCutchan to lead what could be a numbers-challenged Rifle squad.
Last fall, the Bears went 4-11-0 overall and finished fifth in the 4A WSL. With the talented group of seniors that led that team now graduated, Rifle’s players will need to unite and play a cohesive brand of ball to win games in 2009.
“I can see improvements each day,” Mahler said. “They’re starting to play more as a team and stuff. We’re going to have to. We don’t have the individuals we did last year. We have to play more as a team.”
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The Glenwood Springs-Rifle sports rivalry goes way back for GSHS baseball coach and former Demons multi-sport student-athlete Eric Nieslanik.