By Noah Miyamae
Assoc. Sports Editor
The boys’ soccer team is primed and ready to defend the Rio Hondo League title this upcoming season. Additionally, the boys look to avenge a heartbreaking defeat in the CIF championship game against the Monrovia Wildcats.
Mirroring the success of the previous season will not be easy for the squad as thirteen seniors were lost to graduation last Spring. Notable losses include the leading goal scorers, Jordan Jackmon, Oscar Jaime III, and Ramon Gutierrez. Gutierrez and Jackmon’s 1-2 punch was deadly for opposing defenses last year, while Jaime III anchored the stout Tiger defense.
Senior James Tulin will be a major factor in the team’s success as he led all non-seniors with eight goals. Senior Oskar Hernandez will aid Tulin in the offensive charge as he finished with seven goals in the previous season.
Seniors Tim Hitchcock, Chris Brady, James Anderson, Seiji Sasaki, and Ian Geiberger will provide additional support as they are all returning varsity athletes. Mathew Kramsch will be the only junior who played varsity as a sophomore last season. This young team will greatly rely on these players’ previous experience for leadership.
“[Coach Zurita] has been one of the most important aspects for the team,” junior Max Amido said. “He coaches younger kids on a club team and will hopefully be able to prepare our youthful core in a similar manner.”
The Tigers have been vigorously preparing for the season with practices since the middle of summer. Proceeding the summer workouts, the squad has been training every week on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“The team hopes to perform equally as well as we did last year,” Kramsch said. “We have a very talented team despite losing many players to graduation.”
The Tiger’s biggest obstacles will include Monrovia and La Cañada, who finished second and third place in Rio Hondo League play. However, Monrovia will most likely prove to be the tougher opponent as they were the CIF-SS Division VI champions in the 2014-2015 season.