Springfield, Mo. -- The Hillcrest soccer Hornets have had a couple of rough seasons, finishing with a 4-24 win/loss record in 2010 and a 2-22 record in 2011. Even so, coach Edward Gumucio says there are three important factors that make it “very, very reasonable for [Hillcrest] to shoot for a 500 season” in 2012.
“I don’t want to come across like I’m trying to defend the record, I mean, it is what it is,” Gumucio said flatly. “But a lot of (our) losses were one goal losses, they weren’t blowouts.”
With more offseason training, an experienced varsity team, and more confident coaches, Gumucio thinks the Hornets have a good shot at their best season in recent years.
First, the Hornets have been training harder in the offseason and the players have been working on an individual basis to improve their skills, the coach explained.
This is the first year he has really encouraged the team to stay active during the offseason.
Second, the team will also feature more returning varsity players than in previous seasons.
“We have hands-down the most experienced team in my time here,” said Gumucio, about to enter his third year as coach. “There’s a group of kids from Pleasant View that have pretty much been playing together since sixth grade and they’re going to be juniors, and there will be about six seniors returning.”
Finally, the coach admitted that there had been a bit of a learning curve for him, but that he is feeling more confident in his abilities to help players reach their potential.
Although much of the varsity team will be familiar, Hillcrest did graduate Jared Wilkinson (2 goals) last year, an all-district, all-conference player with a majority of the team’s assists and they will need to find a new play-making dynamic without him.
Nevertheless, the coach thinks players like juniors Michael Blisf and Ngozi Gregory will be able to “pick up where Jared left off.”
In seeking their .500 season, the Hornets, a Class 2 team, will be trying to get wins against their four district rivals: Rogersville, Bolivar, Marshfield and Republic.
They aren’t as concerned with their conference standing. As Coach Gumucio explained, “A lot of the conference games… don’t really amount to much going into the offseason because a lot of those teams are (Class 3)” and have something of a numbers advantage over smaller schools.
However, not to totally disregard the team’s conference games, Gumucio pointed out that the Hornets also expect to be competitive with the teams from Central High school (who they beat 1-0 last season) and Parkview High School (who beat them 10-0 last season) this year.
“I think there is a strong and competitive mindset in my group of kids,” said Gumucio. “We don’t want to give away any mercys, and we want to go up a goal or two in our conference games.”
In the aftermath of Drury's run to the National Championship, a common topic has arisen in the area.
In a one game scenario, could the Panthers beat Missouri State?
Naturally, my first inclination is to say no. The difference between the mid-major,...
Just 16 days ago Nyla Milleson was let go as the head coach of the Lady Bears.
Missouri State President Clif Smart and Athletic Director Kyle Moats both took turns citing a laundry list of reasons, both on and off the court, as to why the...
Conference realignment is finally affecting The Valley.
Last week, as many have been speculating for months, Creighton announced its decision to leave the Valley and join the "Catholic 7" in the revamped Big East.
For Creighton, the opportunity...