After going a combined 1-19 in league play over the previous two seasons, the Minarets boys varsity soccer team (9-11-1, 4-3-1 West Sequoia League) recently completed its most successful season in school history, placing second in the WSL.
The second place finish put the Mustangs in the Central Section D-V playoffs, the program’s first playoff game since 2008. The team hosted Frazier Mountain (7-9-1) Feb. 15, winning 3-1, but were eliminated from the playoffs in the second round with a 7-0 loss to Mendota (20-4-2) on Feb. 17.
It was a season of broken records and firsts, starting with their second place league finish in a league full of soccer specialty schools such as Parlier and Fowler.
The loss to Mendota did little to dampen the Mustangs’ spirits as they reflect on a new level reached by the program.
Senior Jesse Martin finished the season as the league’s No. 2 scorer with 22 goals, and leaving the program as the top scorer in school history.
Junior Jacob Cullen finished as the top “assist” player in league, finishing with 15 on the season. Senior Drew Robertson was second on the Mustangs squad with 10.
“Our team has shown huge improvement, not only on the field but as individuals,” Assistant Coach Juan Ibarra said. “They matured immensely throughout our season, and as a result, it brought unity to the team.”
New to the staff this season, Ibarra brought energy to a program that has struggled over the years, and now Head Coach Michael Vaughan along with Ibarra have the soccer program focusing on higher goals for next season.
Both coaches were extremely pleased with the team’s play, and how the team improved throughout the season.
“It took a lot of dedication from these boys to be successful and they came together and pulled it off,” Ibarra said. “They set the bar high for the future Minarets boys teams. We hope these boys remember this season and always remember that they can always come back to serve as a mentor to future teams.”
The Mustangs will have some rebuilding to do as they graduate 11 of the 18 players from this years record-setting team.
The JV squad is flush with juniors, polishing their skills this season as they will move up to varsity next season. If this season is any indication, the future looks bright for Vaghan and Ibarra and the Mustangs soccer program.
In the season ending game, Mendota’s Daniel Trejo set a career goals record in the California Interscholastic Federation. Trejo, who scored all seven goals in the win over Minarets, brought his four-year total to a record of 193.
“It’s an unexplainable feeling; I’m really happy,” Trejo told the Fresno Bee. “I had a plan. I got together with my team and let them know we had to make history tonight, and we did. I’m glad.”
Trejo exited the game with about 20 minutes left on the clock.