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Spanish Springs boys soccer gearing up for postseason
by Dan Eckles
Oct 26, 2012 | 2857 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Spanish Springs boys soccer coach Rob Moreland talks with players during his team's workout Friday morning.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Spanish Springs boys soccer coach Rob Moreland talks with players during his team's workout Friday morning.
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Tribune photo by John Byrne - SSHS senior forward Julio Soto (foreground) fires a shot on goal Friday while preparing for his team's playoff opener.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - SSHS senior forward Julio Soto (foreground) fires a shot on goal Friday while preparing for his team's playoff opener.
slideshow
The Spanish Springs boys soccer team was rolling along. The Cougars were winning matches. They were in a fight for the High Desert League title. And then the final three weeks of the fall season rolled around.



Spanish Springs failed to win any of its final five matches. To make matters worse, the SSHS crew has managed only two goals in the drought. The recent struggles dropped Spanish Springs from the league championship hunt, but the regular season came to a close earlier this week and the local school still managed to secure the HDL's No. 2 playoff seed.

The Cougars will open the Division I North's regional tournament Monday in a 6 p.m. home match against Sierra League No. 3 seed Galena.



"Things could be better, but we can't complain about what we don't have," Spanish Springs coach Rob Moreland said. "We still need to work on getting better, so that's what we're doing.



"Sure I'd rather be coming into the playoffs peaking, but we still have that opportunity. We can start peaking right now."

While the Cougars have indeed struggled through much of October, there are some positives for fans of the Purple and Silver. In addition to Galena, also on the Cougars' side of the regional bracket are Reno and Wooster. Spanish Springs beat Wooster and Galena already and Reno recently lost two of its top players. On the opposite side of the bracket are McQueen and Hug, teams that have given the Cougars fits.

"I like our bracket," Moreland said. "We're having good practices. I let the kids know I want them to have fun. At the beginning of the season we were doing well and having fun. The postseason is like a new season. I said 'let's go back to the beginning for a fresh start. Let's start over.'"

Moreland said that selfish play more than anything else has been his team's undoing during its recent rough patch. He added that his team's ball movement has digressed since the first half of the season and that players have been taking too many ill advised shots while dribbling too much.

Fixing those ills has been the bulk of the Cougars focus in practice this past week.



"We have to be unselfish to score goals," Moreland said. "Guys are trying to make it happen themselves instead of trusting teammates.



The veteran northern Nevada soccer coach is familiar with his Cougars' first-round opponent. He knows what to expect from Galena and what his team must do if it hopes to advance in the regional bracket.



"We'll need to keep a lot of possession," he said. "Galena is an aggressive team. They will come out hard and get in your face. If we come out dribbling, it will be to their advantage. Their pressure will get the best of us.



"We have to not make too much of it (the current scoring drought and winless streak). People are not going to give it to us. People play us differently. They know we'll come at them and that's why they drop quickly. So we've been working on really moving and countering quickly."



Spanish Springs won the Northern 4A crown just two years ago. In 2010, the Cougars entered postseason play as a No. 3 seed, but posted a trio of regional tourney wins and advanced to the state tournament for the only time in the program's history.



Moreland has stressed to his players that anything is possible.



"You can get hot at any time," he said. "I still think we've got a good team and we're capable of winning the whole thing."
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