By Brian O’Shea, Plateau Daily News
The Highlanders boys varsity soccer hosted Mountain Heritage in the season opener on Monday and ended with a loss 7-3.
“We played well, but not at the final level that the team is capable of,” said Highlands Coach Caleb Brown. “There is much more to come as our conditioning, and ball possession gets better throughout the season. Everyone on our bench got some time out on the field, including our freshman players, which had some goal scoring opportunities.”
Highlands goals were scored by JD Head, Landon Green, and Isaiah Vilardo.
“We saw a lot of positives in moving the ball around by passing through balls on the ground as well as creating chances when one of our players back was to the opponents goal by laying the ball off to a forward facing attacking player,” said Brown. “We grew into the game defensively and had some great tackles on our backline to save us from giving Mountain Heritage goal scoring opportunities. All in all our main priorities were our conditioning, finishing created chances, positional awareness, and defensive marking/communication.”
Brown added that the “Man of the Match” was Highlands Bryan Jarquin.
“Last night (Monday) Bryan Jarquin came in and played a position that he has not usually played,” said Brown. “He was a menace all around the field. From making good open field tackles to regaining possession at midfield or in the attacking third. To create chances in the opponent’s half by passing good balls through the defensive line or laying the ball off to forward facing players. Bryan all around had an extremely influential match, which is why he was subbed off momentarily. Bryan’s performance last night really stood out to me. We had other players have great games as well, but Bryan’s performance really stands out in my mind.”
Brown said he thinks we can expect good things from this team over the season.
“We look to be a strong team this year,” he said. “We play tough out of conference games to start the season, which is good for us because playing a good opponent gives us perspective on the areas of major improvement we need to focus on. We have a strong core group of upperclassmen, but we also have some promising freshman and underclassmen. Give us a few more weeks of practice, and a couple more games and we will be firing on all cylinders.”
Highlands next plays Mountain Heritage on the road on Aug. 21 with the game beginning at 5:30 p.m.