Sunday, September 22, 2013
INDEPENDENCE - Lofty results so far this season have led to lofty expectations for the boys soccer team at Central.The Panthers defeated Yamhill-Carlton on Thursday in a lopsided 15-0 rout to improve to 3-0 on the season.Entering Tuesday's Oregon West Conference opener against Philomath, the Panthers had outscored their opponents 26-0."These players have been with each other for a couple years and finally have the maturity needed to compete for a league title," Central coach Mike Lynch said.Of the 15 juniors in squad rotation, nine have been starting or seeing quality playing time since their freshman year."The team chemistry this year is great, we all trust each other and know each person can do their job," senior midfielder Jonathan Pedraza said.That chemistry, combined with some excellent young talent, has led to an outbreak of goal scoring early this season, albeit against mostly substandard competition.Freshman Antonio Rincon tallied a hat-trick for the Panthers early in Thursday's game and Jose Herrera, his freshman midfield counterpart, scored two goals of his own.Ten other players found the back of the net Thursday afternoon, including juniors Marcos Garibay (who started in goal), Heber De La Torre, Gregoria Herrera, Marcos Gonzalez and Pedro Orozco.What all those wins have done is give the Panthers confidence that they can reach their goal. Photo by Landon Kafka Marcos Garibay "Although the teams we have played won't compare to teams like Philomath and Stayton coming up, I think it really started over the summer when we went into Salem and beat all their teams," Lynch said.The team chemistry that has led to its overall confidence moving forward has the players excited about their potential moving into the play against the much stronger teams in its league."We are unselfish and know what needs to be done," Antonio Rincon said. "If we keep motivating each other to get better and stay together, our season will be great."Antonio Rincon has been a bright spot up front among many for the Panther forwards - the freshman is leading the team in goals this season with 8 goals. Strategically, all the offensive pressure has left midfielders like Pedraza able to stay at home on defense and look to set up the counter attack."Moving a player up front has really opened things up for us, we have good spacing and can move the ball from the back into the attack quickly," Pedraza said."It comes down to making good runs and finding the right passes," junior winger Eddie Carillo added. "We have been playing together for so long it has come a lot more naturally this year."The early success doesn't have the Panthers resting on their laurels, and both the players and Lynch realize there are things to work on in the weeks ahead."We are still working on strengthening our on-field communication," Lynch said. "We have experience and confidence, we just need to stay focused and do the right things against the tougher teams in our league."