The Wolf Pack’s first game of 2012, a 2-0 win at Kimball High on Monday, Aug. 27, was an encouraging sign to West senior forward Miguel Madruga.
“Everybody is working hard and we’re passing the ball like last year,” said Madruga, who scored both of West’s goals. “We should do as good as last year. We’ve just got to work hard.”
Even as the Jaguars played an aggressive game at midfield and kept up with West’s speed, West coach Nate Perry saw that his team’s one-touch passing control the game.
“That’s a rare thing in your very first preseason game. For that chemistry to already be there is pretty promising,” Perry said.
Madruga wove his way through the midfield and past Kimball’s defenders for his first goal 22 minutes into the game. He scored again 20 minutes into the second half on a shot from the middle, which deflected off the crossbar and across the goal line. Kimball goalie Juan Cardenas blocked eight more of West’s shots.
Kimball’s Ryan Chaney kept up the Jaguars’ offensive pressure but was unable to get his shots past West’s defenders.
West goalie Dan Barratta had six blocks, and sweeper Waseem Latifi also blocked a couple Kimball shots.
Chaney said that the Jaguars (1-4), who started their season at the Pitman Tournament in Turlock over the weekend, focused on a hard-charging response at midfield to West’s offensive attacks.
“We dominated in the middle,” Chaney, a sophomore forward, said afterward. “It’s just getting our shots in the goal.”
West junior midfielder Alex Valencia said that his team’s ability to keep the ball moving between players gave the Wolf Pack an advantage.
“Our passing was really good this game,” Valencia said. “So far, we’ve been working together. We just need to keep it up and put the ball in the back of the net more. I know we can do it.”
West junior varsity also opened with a win, beating the Jaguars 7-0.
Kimball 1-3 at Pitman tourney
Kimball High’s varsity soccer team went 1-3 for the weekend at the Pitman High Tournament in Turlock.
On Friday, Aug. 24, the Jaguars lost to Merced, 2-0, and then lost to Franklin, 6-0.
On Saturday, Aug. 25, the Jaguars lost to Patterson, 4-2, and beat Riverbank, 3-1. Kimball coach Ron Hattley said that while the young team needs to make considerable progress, he was encouraged by the improvement he saw over the weekend.