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Boys soccer: Offense not a concern for Tigers

The Farmington boys soccer team had a chance to reach double figures in wins last year before a late-season scoring drought left the Tigers stuck on eight victories for the second straight year.

The team sat at 8-4-1 before being shut out in its final four games. The Tigers were shut out in all eight of their losses.

Head coach Julian Buss admits the team needs to do a better job of seizing its limited scoring opportunities when competing against good teams, but he's not in a hurry to make any big adjustments considering the returning talent he expects the Tigers to feature on the offensive end.

"I think we will assess where we are at this first week and go from there. So many of the athletes are bigger, faster and stronger that I think new scoring situations will present themselves this season," Buss said.

The Tigers' top returning scorers were both honorable mention all-conference selections last fall. Blake Smith enters his fourth varsity season as the team's center midfielder and all-state 4x800 relay runner Jared Wolt will likely make the transition from midfielder to forward.

"Blake has always played with an intensity and skill level that is hard to find. Combine that with the speed and strength that comes with all the off-season work he has done and I would expect Blake to have quite a successful 2013 season," Buss said. "Jared has also worked hard in the off-season to develop his strength and speed."

Also returning to the varsity roster will be senior defenders Hunter Meyers and Eric Stoeckmann, senior midfielder Caleb Gochenour and junior midfielder Robin DeCastro.

Rounding out the lineup will be several players who are earning spots during this week's tryouts.

"There are a number of returning JV athletes I would expect to make the jump to varsity. I am very excited to see them in action this first week to see where everyone is at," Buss said. "It could very well be our team depth that is provided by the new varsity additions will play a major role in how competitive we can be this season."

The Tigers will also be counting on a relatively inexperienced varsity player in goal. Sophomore Jake Agnew played at all four program levels last year, including some time as a field player, but settled in as a solid goalkeeper for the JV team. If Agnew plays elsewhere on the field, last year's freshman goalie Collin O'Connor, or some other new face, could also step into a varsity role.

"I anticipate a number of other as-of-yet-unknown athletes to step up and contribute at the keeper position, as well," Buss said.

The Tigers open the season next Thursday at home against Rosemount. Game-time is 5 p.m. at Tiger Stadium.