After a disappointing end to their 2015-2016 season in a substate matchup at the hands of the Hudson Pirates, the Perry Bluejay soccer team began this season’s campaign with a 2-1 record.
Last year’s 15-3 Raccoon River Conference champs hope their winning performance at their own tournament this past Saturday will translate into more wins and a chance at state.
Gary Overla, Bluejays’ head coach, returns to help this group of athletes reach their maximum potential and erase last season’s abrupt ending.
“Our big focus each and every season is to make it to the state tournament,” he said. That has always been our goal.”
Overla will look to his veteran players to lead the younger ones and fill in the gaps left by last season’s integral players seniors David Cardenas, Ivan Garcia, Fernando Catalan, Chance Webster, and Ian Velasco.
Cardenas and Garcia finished tied for second in team goals last season with 14 a piece. Webster scored two goals and Velasco finished with one.
Players tasked with carrying the torch are Jesus Rodriguez, Alvaro Soto, Alexis Macias, and German Alvarenga, the coach said.
Rodriguez was the team’s number one goal scorer. In 18 games he recorded 16 goals three assists and 35 points.
Overla wants his players to have the “state-or-bust” mentality but when it comes down to it he just wants his players to give 100 percent effort regardless of the outcome.
“We want to simply compete in every game that we are in,” he said. “We may not win the game but we are at least in a position to win.
Overla believes his current team can continue a streak that started during the 2014-2015 season.
“Win the Raccoon River Conference, which we have done the last two years,” he said.