Summit High: Soccer preview
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Summit County, Colorado
FARMER’S KORNER – Senior forward Justin Hollenbeck stared down at the orange cast plastered to his right hand and just shrugged.
“It shouldn’t make any difference,” he said. “I’ll wrap it up for the first games, then after that I’ll be fine. I won’t miss any games or anything.”
Hollenbeck’s explanation of his broken wrist – which happened to come on the pitch three weeks ago – is the best microcosm of his Summit High soccer team. Sure, the group is pretty laid back about the season that sits before them, but that shouldn’t be confused with the determination they have to not let little obstacles, like say a broken bone, stand in the way of achieving their goals.
“We’re looking to repeat and go farther than last year,” the senior co-captain added.
Of course, the “repeat” is a reference to the Tigers’ (semi-surprising) run to the Jeffco League title last year. Now, with the season beginning Thursday, the Summit soccer players realize that they may be the ones with the bull’s-eye on their backs as the team to beat.
“We know there are some teams that are going to come out harder against us,” said fellow captain Nick Adolph, who will anchor the Tiger defense from the center spot. “That’s the way it is, and we just need to be ready for it.”
According to their head coach, Matt Zeiset, the Tigers will be able to hold up pretty well against their competition this fall.
“Last season was pretty decent, I thought. I mean, we won the league,” the coach said with a smile. “We’ll see if we can pull a repeat on that – that’s the goal.
“But you don’t want to focus on one thing, except the fact that you want them to have fun first.”
And Zeiset, in his first season as head coach after being with the team as an assistant, is helping them do that. Although, that doesn’t mean his players aren’t putting in the work.
With 16 seniors on this year’s roster, Zeiset expects a lot from his team.
“We are pushing them pretty hard, for sure,” he said. “We’ve been training all summer and last winter, twice a week. They’re looking good and they’re looking really solid.”
All that training seems to have paid off, as senior twins and captains Taylor and Turner Colvin feel their team is in great shape even with the season being only a few weeks old.
“Our fitness should really help,” Taylor Colvin said. “Last year was a lot of fitness also, but it’s a lot more intense this year. It’s different.”
That’s something that Zeiset tried to instill from the end of last season: sport specific training.
“You don’t go out and ride a mountain bike to train for soccer,” the coach explained. “We want them to get to that fitness level through playing and doing training that completely relates to soccer. Actually, it’s keeping it more simple.”
Simplicity would be the other change Zeiset has made in his first season, because, he explained, keeping your focus on just one or a few things lets everything else fade away, taking away any pressure.
It certainly seems the Tigers aren’t feeling any pressure to start this season, even with lofty team goals. Part of that has to do with the team’s experience and the fact that this group of players have been together for quite some time.
“A lot of the starters are the same, and we play well together,” Turner Colvin said. “There’s not going to be much adjusting, because we’ve already done it.”
Colvin said the Tigers hope to get past the first round of the playoffs this season, which they haven’t done since this senior class began playing, and they surely want to defend their league title.
Zeiset down plays his team’s objectives: “I don’t want to raise the bar too high for them – just start it out one pass at a time, and we’ll see how it goes from there.”
Turner Colvin, though, sees nothing else to shoot for.
“You can always dream big, and then go out and try to accomplish it,” he said.
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