After the first round of North County Middle School East League play, Sullivan Middle School’s soccer team had a 4-1 record.
“I’m really happy with our team,” said Sullivan coach Domingo Anguiano.
Anguiano has 19 players on his co-ed team, which prevented him from sitting all 11 of his starters March 4 when the Wildcats opened their season at home with an 11-0 victory over the Tri-City squad from Vista. Sullivan’s March 5 home match was a 6-0 victory over Oceanside Coastal Academy.
“The biggest struggle for me as a coach was just getting them to work together at the beginning of the season,” Anguiano said.
Sullivan’s “cross-town rival”, Potter Junior High School, played a March 7 game on Sullivan’s field. The Wildcats prevailed by a 3-1 margin.
Sullivan’s loss in the first round was by a 3-1 score March 12 at Valley Center Middle School. “We didn’t execute,” Anguiano said.
Olive Peirce Middle School is the feeder school into Ramona High School, whose boys soccer team won 20 regular-season games in 2012-13 before a playoff loss to eventual CIF Division II champion La Costa Canyon. “They have a really strong team,” Anguiano said.
For Sullivan’s March 14 game in Ramona, Anguiano changed the Wildcats’ formation and used five defenders, four midfielders, and one forward rather than four defenders, four midfielders, and two forwards. The reliance on counterattacks and fast breakaways was validated with Sullivan’s 3-1 win.
“We are hanging with the big schools,” Anguiano said. “We can hold our own now.”
Many of Sullivan’s eighth-graders have been with the team for three years. “They play disciplined and they know what I expect,” Anguiano said.
Anguiano singled out eighth-grader Callie Eidson as a defensive standout. “She’s an amazing defender,” Anguiano said.
Eidson is a left inside defender. Forward Efren Rangel, who is also in eighth grade, was cited as the Wildcats’ offensive standout. “All he cares about is maintaining his grades so he can play soccer,” Anguiano said.
Anguiano notes that the eighth-graders mentor the newer players. “Everyone pitches in,” he said.