Trojan coach looks ahead
After finishing 9-6-3 this fall, the Wayzata High boys soccer team is already thinking about another winning season in 2013.
Head coach Dominic Duenas will have all three strikers back, plus three starting defenders and one other defender coming back after knee surgery.
“We have holes to fill in the midfield and in goal,” said Duenas. “Grant Larson started in goal for four years, and we know it will be hard to replace him.”
Larson recorded seven shutouts this season and was named to the Minnesota Soccer Coaches’ Association All-State team.
Returning strikers for 2013 are Lewis O’Connor, James Smith and Obi Wamuo. All of them had multiple-goal games this season.
On the backline, Wayzata will return All-State selection Nick Riley along with starters Scott Eyer and Alex Moy.
Riley shut down the middle with his quick feet and heading skills. He was especially effective against some of the state’s best players, including high-scoring Elliott Cassutt of Minneapolis South and Sami Pierau of Hopkins.
“Sam Koep started every game as a sophomore,” said Duenas. “He was recovering after knee surgery and should be 100 percent by next season.”
In the midfield, Wayzata will have to replace two impact players, Drake Mjaanes and Alexi Moua. They served as senior tri-captains along with Larson.
“The character of our senior class is something I will always remember,” said Duenas. “Coming into each season, chemistry is a concern. I was pleased with the chemistry on this year’s team, and it starts with the seniors. They checked their egos at the door. It was always team first.”
This season’s 9-6-3 record was good, but not what the Trojans were hoping for. Wayzata barely missed winning the Lake Conference championship. The Trojans posted a 5-2-1 league mark to finish half a game behind Eden Prairie (6-2-0).
Going into the last week of the season, destiny was in the Trojans’ hands, but they lost to Eden Prairie in a final showdown, 2-0.
“Sometimes we struggled to finish our scoring chances,” said Duenas. “We struggled on the final decisions – shots and passes – but I was pleased with the number of chances we created.
“It is not always easy playing at Wayzata. There is a target on our backs, and we never play an easy team non-conference. We can’t ever just put it in neutral.
“I felt our boys gave it everything they had this season,” Duenas concluded. “As a coach, I can’t ask for more than that.”