Future the Focus as Boys’ Soccer Season Draws to a Close


Deena Ismail

Captain and senior center back Brandon Castillo takes the ball down field on Feb. 3 against Connally High School. The Timberwolves fell short 0-3.

Nick Hedges, Reporter

As the high school soccer season paces to a close, the boys soccer team is looking to end their season on a positive note. After a tough season in a district considered by many to be the toughest in 5A, the guys will attempt to close it looking into the future, without a glimpse into the rear view. With loads of young talent, the team is confident that they will be in a much better position for a deep playoff run in the next few years, and for the seniors, that is a good feeling to leave with.

“Our district is probably the toughest one in the entire state,” senior full back Storm Jensen said. “Most, if not all, the teams we play are more technically skilled than us. We’re rarely going to beat a man one on one or outpace somebody. We really need to attack as a unit to break down these tougher teams.”

Cedar Park’s defensive play shined early on against non-district opponents from around the state. Conceding minimal goals against opponents like Leander and Amarillo Tascosa, the defense-first mentality of the team proved successful, and as district play began, that same approach boosted them to a 2-0 start to district play. Jensen credited fellow captain and senior center back Brandon Castillo for the squad’s defensive prowess.

“You pretty much know what you’re going to get out of Brandon,” Jensen said. “That’s a solid game every time. It’s consistency.”

Sophomore midfielder Jack Dooher also gave his central defender critical acclaim.

“This is his second year in a row as captain so we knew he would be important wherever he played,” Dooher said. “Knowing how reliable he can be is especially important because it gives the team confidence.”

The defense continued to shine as district play continued, and the team finally began to look formidable as the attack started to solidify. Pushed forward by center midfielders Dooher and freshman Kai Nahuina, Cedar Park found its attacking rhythm, highlighted in a 5-1 win over district strugglers, Bastrop. Cedar Park head soccer coach Brian Pollard praised the young duo for their development and work.

“Jack and Kai have done an outstanding job this year of allowing us to push the ball forward,” Pollard said. “ Those two have great chemistry in the middle and allow the rest of our guys to create space and make plays. We are looking forward to those two guys running our offense for the next two years.”

While team cohesion improved as the season went on, the going only got tougher, as top teams like Cedar Creek, Rouse and Georgetown styled their way past the Timberwolves with technical skill too much for the Wolves to handle. Despite their struggles with some of the state’s best teams, the big picture never changed. The future is the focus, and that was a common goal for the entire team. Eliminated from playoff contention, the Wolves are now playing for the future, and for pride. For Jensen, that’s plenty to play for.

“What I don’t want to happen is for all the seniors just to give up once our chances disappear,” Jensen said. “I’d like to leave the program in a better place than when I came here.”

The Timberwolves only have a few games left, and with nothing to lose, they should be wide-open and entertaining. The final home game of the season and senior night will be Friday, Mar. 10, at Cedar Park against Hutto. Kick-off is at 7:15 p.m.