After playoff run to the state semifinals, Glenwood Springs boys soccer is back for more |

After playoff run to the state semifinals, Glenwood Springs boys soccer is back for more

Glenwood's Justin Garces keeps the ball away from a defender during a home game last fall.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

Head Coach: Wayne Smith, sixth year

Last Season: 13-5-1, 9-2-1 in 4A WSL, finished second in league, lost to Air Academy in the state semifinals

Key Returners: Mitchell Burt, Sr.; Alan Videla, Sr.; German Alvarado, Sr.; Angel Bernal, Sr.; Jack Rheinhold, Sr.; Aidan Partch, Sr.; Justin Garces, Jr.; Carlos Guardado, Sr.

Players to Watch: Carlos Rodriguez, Jr.; Will Grosscup, Jr.; Reid Swanson, So.

The 2018 season was a magical one for the Glenwood Springs Demons’ boys soccer team.

But things certainly didn’t start out well, as the Demons went 1-3 in the first four games of the year and allowed 10 goals in those four games. After that, Glenwood was arguably the best team in the state.

Following that slow start, Glenwood reeled off a 10-game unbeaten streak that saw them push to the top of the table in the tough 4A Western Slope League, thanks to a dominant back line and an elite goalkeeper.

Key pieces in Leo Mireles — arguably the best player in program history — Liam Mazzotta, Jackson Kruse, Sebastian Torres and Cameron DeGraff all moved on due to graduation. But, surprisingly, the Demons are still just as loaded heading into this fall.

Coming off of the 4A state semifinal appearance, the Demons return nine players that saw varsity time last fall, giving them a deep, experienced group to work with under veteran head coach Wayne Smith.

That experience and the high-end talent that returns should have Glenwood in the mix for a deep state playoff run once again.

“You always set your goals where you left off, so we want to make another run,” Smith said. “We were one game away from playing in the state championship. That’s the goal this year, to play in the state championship game.

“It can’t be lower than that,” Smith added. “The players have to have the mentality that we had last year. With a lot of the core returning, we’re going to have that same mentality.”

Back is three-fifths of that stout back line and goalkeeper combination as seniors Mitchell Burt and Aidan Partch return on defense, while senior Carlos Guardado — one of the top keepers in the state in 4A — returns in net under Smith.

“We have one of the best goalkeepers in the state,” Smith said. “We’re really excited about our defense, but we do have to replace two players, so that will be fun to watch. We went on a 10-game unbeaten streak with six clean sheets, so that’s just as important as scoring goals.”

Up front, Glenwood sees leading goal-scorer German Alvarado return, as well as talented offensive pieces in Justin Garces, Alan Videla and Angel Bernal, among others.

Despite all the returning talent and the experience gained last season, that rough start to the season left a bad taste in Glenwood’s mouths. It’s a taste they look to rid this fall.

“We have to have good results against quality opponents to open the season,” Smith said. “We open against Durango, who we knocked out in the playoffs, so you know Durango wants that game again. We have to have a good result there.

“In our league, we have to beat Battle [Mountain] and Steamboat [Springs],” Smith added. “I think we have the personnel to do that, and I think that part of our success last year was defense, which wins games.”

The Demons are hoping the defense continues to be stout, and players step up to replace a talent like Mireles this fall, leading Glenwood on another bid for a deep playoff run under Smith.

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