The Yosemite High School boys soccer team (2-2), opened its season with wins over Firebaugh and Mariposa, while narrowly losing to D-I and D-II schools, Fresno High and Dos Palos last week.
“Many of these boys have been playing together for more than 10 years, growing up playing in the Mountain Area Youth Soccer League and then moving into the travel league system,” said first year Head Coach David Cicoletti.
Cicoletti, along with assistants Marcus Leyva and Victor Salazar have been working intently on a possession style of play which includes quick one and two touch combinations and full field positional awareness with all players involved in both the attack and defensive aspects of play.
“Soccer is not a game of kickball,” Cicoletti added.“You can’t kick the ball around and hope something good happens. Players need to be intent on what they’re doing not only with the ball, but when they do not have the ball. Each of these players need to bring mental and physical toughness as well as a sense of relaxation, finesse and skill into the game.”
Cicoletti went on to explain his coaching philosophy is basically that he wants his team to have the time of their lives.
“As a team, we need to take the game seriously, to study the game and work with it and each other at a high level, in order to have the most fun possible.”
There are currently 19 players on the varsity team - five sophomores, five juniors and nine seniors.
Notable sophomore talent includes starting goalie Jensen Pincus, center midfielder Orion Cicoletti and left midfielder Lucas Lehigh, who have been enormous assets to the team playing all minutes of all of our the team’s first four games. Other up and coming sophomores include striker/midfielder Logan Cacy and defensive back Kai Hansen.
Juniors include varsity returners left forward Chris Ward (who’s tallied 6 goals in just his first 4 games for the Badgers), starting left back Hunter Palmer, co-captain and stalwart defensive midfielder/stopper Henry Curley, as well as sweeper/defensive backs Tyler Buongirono and Ethan Conti.
Returning seniors include starters right forward Michael Stieler, center back Russell Zelazo (who was last year’s Varsity team MVP) and co-captain/right back Jack Rice, right midfielders Joel Doss and Jacob Pitkanen, midfielder/back up goalie Matt Williams, defensive back Noah McIntyre as well as new seniors on the varsity team defensive backs Cameron Hart and Isaac Rumohr.
The team plays Dec. 19 at home against Minarets High, and at Caruthers Dec. 22.
The girl’s soccer team had a busy few weeks to start the season. On Dec. 1-2, they participated in the Lemoore Classic Tournament where they were challenged by several larger schools. They won 7-0 in their first match against Bakersfield South.
“South wasn’t much of a challenge for us but it was good practice for our offense with creating opportunities,” said Head Coach Vanessa Jasper.
Next, the team faced El Diamante from Visalia, where they lost 4-1.
On the second day of the tournament Yosemite faced Lemoore, losing 3-0, but came back to beat Mt. Whitney 6-0.
“Overall I’m happy with how the team played,” Jasper continued. “This was a tough tournament. It’s always physically and mentally challenging to play at tournaments and I’m proud with how the team did.”
Yosemite played McLane at home Dec. 7. Jasper had to make team adjustments due to players injuries. While the team struggled initially to get its rhythm, YHS came out on top, 3-2.
The team travels to Selma on Dec. 15.
Yosemite High School Correspondent