|Written by Brian Bergner|
|Friday, 02 September 2011 00:00|
A year ago, longtime Camp Verde High School boys soccer Head Coach Dave Miller said “anything can happen” when asked what he thought his team’s chances were to win a state title in 2010.
Unfortunately, the Cowboys needed three straight wins at the end of the season to barely earn a spot in the 1A-3A conference state playoffs.
At state, Camp Verde dropped its regular season record to 10-9-2 overall when it lost to Holbrook High School in the first round, 2-0.
Finishing barely over .500 and losing in the first round of the state tournament isn’t exactly what Miller had in mind in late August last year, especially with twin brothers Casey and Cody Grey along with Jake McIlvoy leading the way as seniors.
In 2011, Miller believes his chances are just as good, and with a slew of seniors coming back from all the experience they earned in 2010 as juniors, the Cowboys are in the hunt once again for a title this fall.
“Our speed on top is probably our team strength,” Miller said. “Our experience in the middle will help, but our defense is young.”
Top returning seniors for the Cowboys include team captain Andres Orellana. Orellana should be a solid center midfielder for Camp Verde this season according to Miller.
Other top seniors include Michael Casillas, Marcos Lozanilla, Trent Fogelson, Zeke O’Callaghan and Derrick Brown.
Casillas is a solid defender while Lozanilla will team with Orellana at midfield. Fogelson will be on the outside with O’Callaghan.
As for Brown, he looks to bring his toughness from being one of the top grapplers on the mat for the Cowboys in the winter to the soccer field this fall.
Other top returners include junior Justin Reay and sophomores Andy Woodward, Edgar Agayo, Jake Zeid and Jesse Alvey.
According to Miller, the experience will pay off when the season begins to grind for the Cowboys. One thing Miller desperately hopes to improve is his team’s play against Chino Valley High School. Camp Verde went 0-3 against the Cougars in 2010 and were outscored 12-4 in the three matches.
The Cowboys began to take steps toward a great season Saturday, Aug. 27, when they traveled to Payson High School for a scrimmage. Camp Verde tied the Longhorns 2-2 in the scrimmage match.
“We moved a lot of players in and out against Payson and got to see some guys get a few minutes of playing time. It was good to get a look at stuff, and for the boys to get their game nerves settled,” Miller said.
Top newcomers for the Cowboys include junior Jose Cassillas, Michael’s cousin, sophomore Lorrin Franklin, and freshmen Javier Valdez, Jeremiah Cresto, Michael Nelson and Graham Hickey.
Camp Verde is scheduled to open the season Friday, Sept. 2, in Chino Valley at the Chino Cup Invitational. The two-day tournament runs through Saturday, Sept. 3, where the Cowboys could see Blue Ridge, Desert Christian and Grand Canyon high schools.
“We’re going to get to see top teams right away,” Miller said.
The following week, Camp Verde is scheduled to welcome Thunderbird Academy in its home opener Thursday, Sept. 8.
Camp Verde is in Division IV this season, instead of the normal 1A-3A it’s played in for years.
Just over a year ago, the Arizona Interscholastic Association made a big change, realigning the schools to help with budget cuts.
Schools will now play other schools closer to them geographically, rather than competing against schools based on similar enrollment numbers as done in the past.
The Division IV state playoffs are scheduled to begin Friday, Oct. 28.
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