Mazama boys soccer has had quite a makeover this season.
A new head coach and working with a new roster after 12 seniors graduated, will be the first barriers the Viking boys soccer program will have to overcome.
First-year head coach Sergio Cisneros has had it in his mind for some time he wanted to be the head coach of the Vikings.
After playing four years of varsity at Mazama and later playing at George Fox University, Cisneros knew it was only fitting for him to take over the program.
In the team’s season opener, it was Crater which won the meeting on Tuesday at Mazama, 4-2.
Crater left the Vikings scoreless in the first half and led, 1-0.
It was the Comets who took control in the second half and led 3-0 after a goal came from Jayden Vranes at 54:33, his second of the game.
The feisty play from Crater was costly minutes later.
A shove in the box by Crater forced a penalty kick by sophomore Jose Novoa.
Novoa tricked Crater goalie Carson Le Bel when he shot the ball into the bottom left corner of the net for the Vikings first goal at 56:50.
Seven minutes later, Mazama drew more blood when senior Kris Gonzalez charged down the middle of the field, beat a Comet defender, as well as the attempt by Le Bel to retrieve the ball and tapped the ball into the back of the net.
A goal by Crater in the final eight minutes diminished the Vikings chance of completing their comeback.
“We did not want to lose today, which is why we fought so hard at the end,” Gonzalez said.
“We just kept passing. Everyone tried to make plays, charging at the ball, anything we could do just to get a goal and stop the ball,” Novoa said. “We want to do as well as last year. We want to keep it at that level.”
Novoa was a rival last year but now a teammate after he decided to transfer to Mazama from Klamath Union.
Novoa will be one of the Vikings’ most aggressive players this year and led his team with five shots against Crater.
“I live just two streets down and my mom was like just go here. It is closer. Both here and over there (KU) is the same. There is a brotherhood. It is the same amount of love everywhere. Both schools are good,” Novoa said. “Most of the friends here (Mazama) I have known longer. Here, I feel more connected with everyone because we have played together before high school.”
Cisneros will have a mixture of depth as well as first-time players this season.
The team’s goalie, junior Landon Baeth, after playing football, decided to give soccer a try for the first time since he was near 11 years old.
Cisneros has 36 players between his varsity and junior varsity programs.
“Less than half of the guys on this team have played club together but a majority are guys who just want to come out and play soccer. As a coaching staff, it makes it fun to bring two groups who are passionate about soccer but developing a team strategy moving forward that is going to be successful for these guys,” Cisneros said. “Being a student and a product of Mazama, it has been awesome to bring a full circle as I am teaching and now also coaching. It has been nice to experience the field as a player but also now as a coach and paying it forward for these guys.”