Monarch Smokes the Buffaloes in Season Opener

Boy’s soccer wins first game in Jason Winn’s tenure as head coach


(Matt Keenan)

With grins on their faces, the Monarch boy’s soccer team celebrates after scoring their first goal of the game.

The Monarch boy’s soccer team settled any skepticism going into the 2016 season Thursday night, as they defeated the five time state champion Smoky Hill Buffaloes by a score of 2-1.

After an offseason full of transition, coming off of a trip to the playoffs in 2015, the team saw former coach Marcelo Balboa depart and nearly a full starting 11 graduate from high school. The players and the coaching staff, including head coach Jason Winn, knew they had to train harder than ever to achieve equal success this coming season.

“Marcelo did a great job of setting this program up over the past few years, so I had big shoes to fill stepping in for him,” said Winn. “We hit the ground running. We got in early summer workouts as much as we could. We had a lot of work we had to put in and I think it showed out here on the field today.”

In the early stages of the match, Smoky Hill came out with intensity and speed, controlling most of the possession in the the early stages of the first half. However, the tides abruptly turned as the Coyotes’ midfield began to penetrate the Buffalo defense with vicious attacks towards goal. With 14 minutes remaining before the break, senior David Peter snuck a ball past the keeper to put Monarch up by one.

The depth of the home side’s play didn’t deplete after that, either, as sophomore goalkeeper Hank Dalle Molle, along with great defending from the back four, helped prevent any of Smoky Hill’s three corners from slipping in before halftime.

“There were a ton of nerves coming out, as there usually are,” said Dalle Molle, who made his first varsity start on Thursday. “It was a matter of getting over them, and after five minutes you can really get going.”

After the half, the successes were continued as the unrelenting attack from the Coyotes forced a penalty kick 14 minutes in, which was converted expertly by senior Jordan Hoffman to put the team ahead 2-0.

“We played really well,” said Hoffman. “We were really strong on defense, and that helped us a ton.”

Minutes before the game’s conclusion, the Buffaloes were able to score one goal on a breakaway push, but it was not enough to outdo the Monarch’s passionate play, which seemed to keep them afloat throughout the night.

Looking ahead, the boys will play at home once again this Saturday, as they face Lewis-Palmer High School. Though they were dominant for most of their first game, the coaches still see room for improvement throughout the squad.

“(We have to work on) watching teams who like to play high off the sideline and be aware of that,” Winn said. “We also have to make sure we always improve our communication.”

As for the players, they aren’t holding back their excitement for what the season has to come.

“I’m looking forward to playing and keeping this going,” said Dalle Molle. “Hopefully we can get this team in the state playoffs and a little farther and really represent our school.”