Douglas High forward Joseph Guariglia touches the ball around diving Dayton High goalie Ellan Ortiz. Guariglia scored twice in the Tigers’ 6-2 win against the Dust Devils Thursday.
Photo by Carter Eckl.
With a 2-0 start, Douglas High boys’ soccer and head coach Ricky Diaz have some confidence to start the season.
After starting the year with a 2-1 win at Lowry, Douglas traveled to Dayton Thursday afternoon and bested the Dust Devils 6-2.
“It feels good. Dayton has a couple of kids that play club for me,” said Diaz. “We decided to play a little first half pressure in the beginning.”
In the first 20 minutes, Douglas’ high pressure showed as the Tigers buried four goals to take a quick 4-0 lead.
Hardy Leiknes scored the first two goals in the opening 10 minutes – the first coming off an assist from David Jauregui-Fausto.
Jauregui-Fausto scored Douglas’ third goal on a breakaway he put into the top shelf.
Joseph Guariglia capped the impressive start with goal after finding himself open in the box.
“Joey is supposed to be the big player,” said Diaz of his leading scorer’s returning from the spring. “But it’s going to be much more of what we can do as a team rather than individuals.”
The high-pressure attack allowed Diaz and the Tigers to filter in some junior varsity players and get game time for a solid chunk of his roster.
“We had a lot of corrections to do from Lowry, so it feels good,” said Diaz. “It’s good to see the shooting drills we did pay off.”
The Dust Devils did counter twice with a goal late in each half.
Keeping opponents on their toes and not allowing them to run free in space is one of the early-season goals for the Tigers.
Breaking down the roster
Douglas once again has 11 seniors, despite losing 11 seniors from this spring’s team that went 2-2-4 (W-L-T).
Diaz is entering his second season as head coach, but it’ll be his first with a full schedule this fall.
“We talk to the boys, I’ve got 11 seniors again this year,” said Diaz. “This is a good year to finally hang a banner up at the DHS gym. The team is going to be looking strong. That’s our goal.”
Ryan Henman, Eduardo Gutierrez-Luquin and Ajay Schwartz all return on the back line.
Diaz will also have his son Alexander Diaz returning in the midfield for his junior season.
Playing in the Class 3A Northern league, Douglas will run up against Bishop Manogue, Reno, McQueen and South Tahoe in league play.
After smoke pushed the Tigers away from their home field, Douglas will get a three-game homestand, starting Friday, September 17 with Spring Creek.
With a quick start out of the gates and a team heavily stacked with upper classmen, the Tigers have their sights set high this fall.
“We want to win. If we can’t win our league, we are going to push in regionals,” Diaz said. “That’s the goal, championship for sure.”