Summit soccer reloading, not rebuilding
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With only five players returning from last year’s team, many people would consider this season for the Summit High School boys’ soccer team to be a rebuilding year.
In his second season as head coach and 10th overall with the team, Justin Turri would argue the opposite.
“A lot of times people will call it a rebuilding year, but those have been the years that we have done really well,” Turri said. “Maybe we don’t have the same skill or talent as some other teams (in the past), but we tend to work harder.”
Turri and the rest of the Tigers will be relying heavily on their work ethic when their season gets underway Thursday night, as they host Steamboat Springs at 6 p.m. at Tiger Stadium.
Part of the reason for Turri’s optimism is the leadership of his four senior captains: Erik Brooks, Ben Ferris and twins, Hunter and Zack Black.
“Those four guys have always, always worked harder than everyone else, even when they were sophomores or juniors,” Turri said. “I can trust those guys and know that they are going to make sure that everyone works hard.”
Hunter Black, a forward, felt that his team may have lacked in work ethic last season, leading a talented Tigers’ team to underachieve. This year, he feels he and his teammates won’t make the same mistakes.
“With so many people that haven’t played varsity, the more people will know that they have to work for what they need. As opposed to last year, where kids walked on to varsity and got everything handed to them,” he said.
Another change the players see from last year’s team is the responsibility that the seniors have taken on this season.
“It feels weird to be one of the oldest guys on the team,” Zack Black said. “Normally, the captains aren’t as vocal, and we are trying to have captains lead the practices more. We are trying to take control of the program.”
Zack Black also felt that the new role for the captains has helped to build the team’s
“Everyone on the team has known each other for a long time. So it’s good to have a friend telling you what to do rather than a coach yelling at you,” he said.
With a short time to prepare for their first game and having no preseason scrimmages, the Tigers are cramming in their team schemes.
“It is very important,” Hunter Black said of learning team formations. “We have a certain way we play defense and specific way we play midfield and offense. So everyone needs to learn their positions and where our coaches want them to be and what our coaches want them to do. If we can do that, then it is just our team going out and playing soccer, and we can do great.”
Turri is pleased that the first chunk of the Tigers’ schedule involves non-conference games. Those games obviously don’t count against Summit’s league record, which is the determining factor for qualifying for the state tournament.
“It gives us a good chance to measure up where we are and see what we need to work on to get ready for conference,” he said.
Both Black brothers have goals of winning a first-round state tournament game, something that the team has failed to do in their first two seasons on the squad.
Turri is confident that his team can reach that kind of level, especially if they take advantage of their home games.
“We want to make sure that we can finish in the top-three in our conference, which will get us a high seed in the state tournament. Then we can go from there,” Turri said.
Six of the 12 teams for Summit’s conference advance to the 32-team state tournament. This season, finishing high in the conference won’t be as easy of a task, as former 5A schools Wheat Ridge and Arvada have dropped down a class and into the Tigers’ conference.
Never the less, the Tigers feel confident in their role as more of an underdog than in the past.
“A lot of teams won’t realize what we have coming at them,” Brooks said. “If they underestimate us, that will help us pass right by them.”
Bryce Evans can be reached at (970)668-4634 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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