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Morris soccer hopes to extend regional streak

Redskins have won three straight titles

Published: Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014 8:02 p.m. CST • Updated: Friday, Aug. 15, 2014 10:31 a.m. CST
Caption
(Craig Lincoln for Shaw Media)
Tyler Pletsch kicks the ball away from the goal during the Redskins' first practice on Wednesday. Pletsch will be a key player on defense for the Redskins as they try to win their fourth straight regional this season.
Caption
(T.G. Smith file photo – tsmith@shawmedia.com)
Morris forward Ricardo Del Toro (left) scored 32 goals for Morris last year as the Redskins won their third straight regional title. Del Toro returns for his senior season this year.

MORRIS – Quick. Name the program with the best post-season streak at Morris Community High School.

If you picked boys soccer, you are right.

The Redskins have won three straight regional titles under coach David Valdivia, and they are hungry for their fourth as the 2014 season officially began Wednesday.

Morris went 14-5-5 last season, setting a school record for wins in a season. The plan is to increse that this year, and to add a Nothern Illinois Big 12 Conference title to the mix as well. As the program progresses and continues to set school records, there is one record that won’t be taken away. Valdivia was on the first Morris varsity soccer team and scored the first goal in program history.

“One of our goals, obviously, is to win that fourth straight regional,” Valdivia said. “But, we also want to take that next step in the sectional, too. We know that’s going to be tough, because Peoria Notre Dame always seems to be in the sectional, and they are a powerhouse. But, we hung right in with them for most of the game last year. It was 2-1 until late when they scored and made it look worse at 3-1 than it was.

“One thing we really want to do is win the conference. We have had Kaneland and DeKalb blocking us from that the last few years, but I know that DeKalb lost a lot of seniors from last year’s team, so that will help. We have seven players that saw a lot of time, not all of them started, but they all saw a lot of time, coming back, so that’s a good start for us.”

One player who will be a key for the Redskins is Ricardo Del Toro, who amassed 32 goals in the Redskins’ 24 games last season.

“Ricardo was the MVP of our team and he was all-conference as well,” Valdivia said. “He had just an amazing year. One good thing about our team is that there is no jealousy over who scores goals. It’s like everyone has their job, and one of Ricardo’s main jobs is to get the ball in the net. When he does his job, it makes everyone happy.”

But Morris promises to be more than a one-man show on offense, as Valdivia is counting on returning players Nick Borgstrom and Luke Rodriguez, among others, to increase their offensive production. Freshman Connor Shaw has also been impressive in summer camps, according to Valdivia, and may see time up with the varsity club.

Defensively, the Redskins will count on Tyler Pletsch and Kyle Schroeder to keep the ball away from the net, but if it does get close, Valdivia is confident that keeper Matt Borgstrom will be up to any challenge.

“Matt will be a big key for us this year, and Tyler and Kyle are real strong defenders,” Valdivia said. “They play very good structural defense and they both know how to pass out to the midfielders very well. If the ball isn’t getting close to the goal, that’s the easiest way to keep it out.”

The Redskins begin the season with a double header on Aug. 25. The first game is at 4:45 p.m.against Lisle, and the second is at at 6:30 p.m. against Rochelle in the War on 34 Tournament in Leland. That tournament concludes Aug. 29 and 30, in Earlville before Morris takes part in the Streator Challenge Cup the next week. The Redskins’ home opener is at at 4:30 p.m. Sept. 15 against Wilmington.

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