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Boys soccer: Jags must replace 16 players lost to graduation
After graduating 16 seniors, Flower Mound's boys soccer team is entering a rebuilding phase in 2012-2013.
But despite the mass exodus, the Jaguars have still managed to open with a 5-2-2 start, including reaching the finals last weekend at the Marcus Cup where they met up against the rival Marauders but suffered a 2-0 defeat.
"We're inexperienced," said David Doyle, Flower Mound head coach. "So I was interested to see how we responded early in the season and we've actually done pretty well. We've only lost two matches and I think a little more experience would have really helped in those matches.
"Against Marcus, a lot of the kids really hadn't played in a big match like that and didn't really know what to expect. We tried to prepare them, but Marcus came right out and scored in the first three minutes of each half."
The Jaguars took this week off in preparation of the District 5-5A season, which gets under way at 7:45 p.m. Friday at Lewisville. Flower Mound also goes on the road at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Allen in their final tune-up.
What experience Flower Mound does bring back is in goal and in the back.
"We lost all of our forwards and most of our midfielders," Doyle said. "So we're rebuilding a bit there. But the kids have done a good job and hopefully by district, it will be a whole different ball game.
"On the other hand, I think our back and middle are going to be pretty strong."
Flower Mound returns a pair of goalies with varsity experience in junior Michael Martin and senior Austin Berry.
"We're in pretty good shape in goal," Doyle said. "Right now, both of them have gotten chances to play. I'm not really sure how it will play out going forward and it will come down to who is playing the best. Last year, it was Michael who started a little more and it could be another scenario where both are playing."
Defenders include senior Nick Gerondale and junior Grant Adams, who each played varsity last season. Rounding out the players in the back are senior Collin Curry, senior Willie Nolasco, junior Ezra Richardson, senior Brandon Rajkowski and sophomore John Satterla.
"We can switch it around if need be," Doyle said. "Three or four of them could be playing or even maybe up to six or seven of them."
The midfield rotation features senior Nick Base, junior Tyler Wettstein (who played defense last season), sophomore Camden Riley, senior Alec Zobal and junior Joseph Chamberlain.
"We've already seen Nick step up with a few goals and we have a couple of others who have scored," Doyle said. "We have some versatile options in the middle."
At forward, Flower Mound will lean on junior Cameron Gamble, freshman Tyler McElwee and seniors Daniel Bertrand, Dru Anderson, David Lee and Brian Castillo.
Anderson had a three-goal game Saturday in a 3-0 win over Mansfield Summit at the Marcus Cup.
"We have five or six guys we can choose from," Doyle said. "And we have options off the bench. Like some of our other spots, it's going to be just a matter of who is playing well and figuring out how everything fits."
Despite a rebuild, the Jaguars still have a goal of qualifying for the playoffs.
"That's always where you start and if it happens, you hope to move on," Doyle said. "I haven't got to see a lot of the teams in the district but I've seen Coppell and they look like they may be the team to beat. We obviously just lost to a tough Marcus team and Lewisville is out to a great start. It's going to be tough, especially in a district with only six teams."