By: Destinee Mondragon, The Plaid Staff Writer &
Nicoletta Domicolo, The Plaid Staff Photographer
The Boys’ Varsity Soccer team has seen many changes to the team, such as a new coach, new team members and high expectations for the 2016 season. The team consists of eleven seniors, eight juniors, four sophomores, and two freshman. The new coach or rather. returning coach, Mr. Diaz, actually coached the team from 1994 to 2004. Diaz then coached the Girls’ Varsity team, from 2006 to 2016. Now, Diaz is back and taking on the role of the main coach. His efforts seem to be paying off as the Highlanders beat the Esperanza Aztecs 2-0.
In Diaz’s opinion, the team’s biggest strength is its comradery and how it really comes together as a team. Diaz said,“The boys have all put the team’s needs first and they work and fight for one another.” The aspect that Mr. Diaz would like to work on this season is, “Getting used to the new system and coaching staff.” Mr. Diaz also said that another goal for him is to see the team become even more unified, play attractive possession-style soccer, really come together as a unit, and make sure the boys to enjoy themselves in the process. When asked which school would be their biggest competition. Diaz said, “The whole Baseline League is very competitive and all six teams are quality-sized and not easy. It will take a lot of work from the team but I know the boys will put in all the effort needed to win the games.”
The two varsity captains are Senior, Tyler Schrock and Junior, Isaac Balderrama. Captain Tyler Schrock has been part of the soccer team for all four years of high school and this is his second year as team captain. When asked how he feels about this season’s changes he said, “I feel like Coach Diaz has changed our old tactics and put more discipline into the team and I see these changes in a positive way, leading the team to success.” Schrock’s goals for his second year as captain are to make everyone better as a team and to follow previous captains’ footsteps with great leadership. In his opinion, the team’s biggest competition would be Damien High School.
Captain Isaac Balderrama has been on the soccer team for three years, and this is his first year being a captain. His goals as captain this year are, “I want to get far with the team and make it CIF finals. I want to the team to be champions and nothing less.” Balderrama believes that their biggest competition would be Damien or Chino Hills.
The boys’ first game of the season was on November 28, against the Esperanza Aztecs. Upland took the win, with a score of 2-0. The Upland boys had possession of the ball most of the time in the first half, with a great defense. Schrock showed his impressive skills and demonstrated possessive-style soccer against the Aztecs’ captain, Robbie Newberry. The Aztecs could not keep Upland’s offense away, with Schrock making the first goal, at minute 35 of the game and proving that he is a threat, no matter where he is on the field.
The second half of the game was intense with the Aztecs’ desperation to score and the Highlanders’ efforts to keep the upper hand. The Highlanders’ defense was maintained by Senior defender, Chase Hargrove, keeping the Aztecs away from the goal. Upland’s offense really came alive in the second half, with Senior, Joaquin Jaime making a cross-shot at minute 65. Despite Jaime’s best efforts, he narrowly missed making the goal. Ali Khalil made an incredible save for the Highlanders, with a 360 spin, taking the ball away from an Aztec offender. Jaime scored the second goal of the game incredibly, at minute 75, against two Aztec defenders, ending the game with an Upland win.