Finally getting to see his team in action, Mingus boys' soccer coach Calvin Behlow saw a defense was that was farther along than he anticipated and an offense that, while high-powered, needs to work on its efficiency.
"We showed up, took all the varsity players, played everybody and saw some great things, saw some things we need to work on, which is exactly what the scrimmage is for," Behlow said.
The Marauders traveled to Bradshaw Mountain High School to scrimmage the Bears. The scrimmage ended in a 2-2 tie, but the score was not an issue for the coach. The Marauders controlled the game with possessions, keeping the ball out of the air and their athletic ability.
Seniors Cristian Escobar and Ryan Talbot were the two Marauders to net scores.
"It was ... we did things we didn't think we could do," said Escobar. "We kept the ball on the ground, played our game. I don't even know what motivated us, its just unexplainable how we played. We need to work on a couple things to though, but I could say we did really great."
While the score was there, the efficiency is something that Behlow is going to focus on with his team. The Marauders made two goals on 14 attempts.
"We got the shots we should have, but we've got to make ... more out of those opportunities, for sure," Beholw said. "Some of them, we had two or three of them, one-on-one with the keeper and missed them, with senior leadership doing it. Its one of those things that we have to adjust and make more of those opportunities."
Coming into the season, the Marauders' defense was going to be a question mark, as the seniors that had graduated in 2013 were the defense. Until Behlow began experimenting with different combinations in his backfield, the defense was playing spot on, not having a single error.
"We didn't have any errors defensively, until we started making some changes," Behlow said. "As soon as we gave up the first goal, I wrote down the three mid-fielders that I had, because that's where the breakdown happened, and I only had one starting mid-fielder out there. As we were mixing things around, you don't know who you're putting in, where you're putting them in at [on the field]. You just want to see some kids on the field and get the feel for the game."
Defender Mikey Gulboy was impressed with how far along his defense was. He said that there were not many expectations for the defense going into the scrimmage, which made the performance that much better.
"I thought we did way better than I had expected," Gilboy said. "We didn't have a whole lot of expectations coming in, kind of how Behlow had said, but we played as a unit, it was well done. We gave up a couple goals, but we worked hard, we worked the whole game and we really made up for it."
While the goals scored against the Marauders did not bother Behlow that much, Gilboy said that the defense cannot be complacent with giving up those goals, even though there were inexperienced players on the field.
"We have to try our hardest, no matter who's out on the field," Gilboy said. "If somebody's missing out of their position, we cant just say, 'oh they were gone, otherwise we would have done better.' We can't make excuses for ourselves, we have to go out there and work hard, but I thought we did extremely well with it."
Now the Marauders prepare for the regular season. Mingus Union will travel to Flagstaff and face Coconino High School on Dec. 3.
"All in all, everyone walked off the field really excited about the year and can't wait to lace them up and get started," Behlow said.