Indians’ depth key in 4A state tournament
Sure, Montrose High School senior Nick Hansen scored four goals against Fruita Monument in the Indians’ final regular-season game, but that was not the norm, Montrose coach Jim Pavlich said.
Heading into No. 13-seeded Montrose’s first round Class 4A state soccer tournament game at 3:30 p.m. Thursday against No. 20 Pueblo West (11-4), it has been the Indians’ four captains — goalkeeper Tyler Kayo, a senior; Dylan Tobin, a senior; Saul Perez, a junior; and Hansen — who have taken turns leading the team.
Hansen just happened to be open in Fruita’s 4-2 win Oct. 16, a game that earned Montrose (9-5-1, 8-1-1) the Southwestern League championship.
“He was hot that day, and we kept giving him the ball,” Pavlich said. “That’s been an anomaly this season.”
Last season, Montrose lost in the first round of the state tournament, 1-0, to Sand Creek.
“We need to get out of the first round,” Kayo said. “That was bad last year.”
But this season the Indians are peaking at the end of the season. Why? For one, Pavlich said, he changed the strength and conditioning workouts, adding additional recovery days and simplifying the practices. And the Indians have focused on being excellent on a few aspects instead of good at many.
For example, Montrose has spent more time on straight-ahead speed and lateral movement, which includes developing agility in small spaces through exercises such as running through ladders and hoops.
It has translated into 54 goals for Montrose, with six players getting four or more goals. Hansen leads Montrose with 17 goals, followed by Rose with 10 and Perez with five.
“(Peaking) can’t come at a better time,” said Kayo, who has three shutouts, 110 saves and a 1.46 goals-against average. “I feel like we’re still improving. Last year’s team especially stopped getting better by this point in time.”
This group of seniors has been playing together since they were on a Montrose under-10 traveling team, and they get help from younger players such as Perez, who is the first junior Pavlich has had as a captain.
Pavlich added he’s pleased with the Indians’ No. 13 seed, as well as drawing Pueblo West, which took second in the Class 4A South Central League and has won five straight games.
Senior Jarek Moreschini leads Pueblo West with 25 goals. Like Hansen, he had four goals in the Cyclones’ previous game, an 8-1 win over Pueblo East.