Titans’ Tag Team: Enriquez, Bucio have set pace for Coal Ridge High School’s boys soccer team
PEACH VALLEY — Coal Ridge High School’s boys soccer team doesn’t have too shabby of a one-two scoring punch.
But ask Edgar Enriquez and Enrique Bucio about that, and they’re quick to deflect the attention like a header shot into a goal.
“Every time I score, I just look back at all of my teammates and thank them,” Enriquez said. “All of them are the ones who have helped me score every goal.”
Enriquez has been saying thank you a lot this season, as the 2.5 goals-per-game average he’s tallied is tops in Class 3A. And he’s been also saying thanks quite a bit to Bucio, whose 28 assists are the top mark in all classifications.
The pair has been an integral part of a Coal Ridge team that has one of the top offensive attacks in all of Colorado, and Coal Ridge coach Michael Mikalakis even said their play “makes all of the kids’ play better around them.” And both Enriquez and Bucio will be on the field for the Titans on Friday when they host the first round of the Class 3A state playoffs.
Coal Ridge (12-2-1 overall), the No. 6 seed in the 32-team state playoff bracket, will play No. 27-seeded Alexander Dawson (7-7-0) at 1 p.m. Friday at The Pasture. The later match will feature No. 11 Manitou Springs (12-3-0) vs. Sheridan (8-5-2) at 3 p.m. Winners from both first-round matchups will play each other at 1 p.m. Saturday for a berth in the Class 3A Sweet 16.
And the way Mikalakis feels, the Titans would have been hard-pressed to make it this far without Enriquez and Bucio.
“Their play makes everybody go to that next level in practice so everyone is always competing, always improving and always getting better,” Mikalakis said. “I think that’s something that’s invaluable. Those two are that kind of caliber.”
Overall, Enriquez has scored 30 goals for the Titans in just 12 matches this season. Two times this year — on Sept. 5 against Vail Mountain and Oct. 17 against Grand Valley — the senior has found the net five times. He’s found the net plenty against stellar competition, as 11 of the goals he’s scored have come against teams that have either reached the postseason or already play in a higher classification.
And he admits that most of the goals he’s scored have come off of passes from Bucio.
“Somehow, he always manages to find me,” Enriquez said, smiling.
Bucio has been a staple of consistency for Coal Ridge. He’s recorded an assist in 12 of the Titans’ 15 matches this season, including a six-assist performance during Coal Ridge’s 18-0 victory over Grand Valley on Sept. 21.
“They are definitely lead-by-example kids,” Mikalakis said. “Edgar is a little more vocal, but for the most part, they both tell everyone to do what they do and be ready to go.”
Then again, they’re not afraid to speak up when they feel they have to.
“Sometimes you have to speak up, so it is vocal sometimes,” Bucio said. “Sometimes you have to tell someone they’re doing something wrong in order for the team to be successful. But we also try to lead by example by just playing our game and, through that, getting everyone else to play at a higher level.”
Coal Ridge managed to play at a higher level for most of this season, finishing 6-0-1 in Class 3A Region 3 play to claim its second consecutive league title. The Titans hope to retain that level of play, which has helped them outscore their opponents 71-13 in 2013.
Both Enriquez and Bucio were part of the Titans team which advanced to the Class 3A semifinals a year ago, and they’d love nothing more than to advance a little further this season. But they, along with their coach, aren’t about to look that far ahead yet.
“The one thing that I ask after every game is if that last game we played mattered,” Mikalakis said. “That’s how we look at it. We play one game at a time and look to the next one. So right now, our next game is against Alexander Dawson, and that’s the only thing we’re looking forward to.”
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