The Trabuco Hills Mustangs turned a lot of heads last season when a young team got hot late in the season to squeeze into the playoffs. Coach Johnny Rodriguez brought a new attitude to Mustang Way that became infectious. Despite finishing the season below 0.500 with an 8-11 record, many felt the Mustangs had turned a corner and were ready to move up a notch. When junior LSM Scotty Barger (Towson) transferred in another piece was added to the puzzle.
The Mustangs return all of their starters from a young but talented 2014 team. Despite some tumultuous off the field distractions earlier this year, the Mustangs have responded with a group of players coming together as one. According to Coach Johnny Rodriguez, “We have players stepping up and running drills on one end of the field while I am alone coaching on the other end of the practice field with another group. We are making the best of our situation, these guys want to win and everyone is starting to buy in. If we can get all 27 guys playing important roles on this team, the Mustangs will be very dangerous this spring.”
Trabuco’s offense will be tough to stop this year with captain’s Jake Marthens at attack and Harrison Evans at middie leading the way. The Mustang offense will also be fueled by returning starter and attackman Wyatt Koudelka and newly named captains Billy Barron at attack and John Kauo at midfielder. The other offensive players to watch are midfielders Andrew Blume, who brings an exceptional blend of offensive and defensive prowess, and speedster Jaryd Flores.
The defense for the Mustangs looks much improved over last year. The returning poles have all put on size over the off season and improved their ground ball and clearing game. The defenders to watch are the always reliable goalie Nick Wilson, middie Kyle Yano with Noah Cook , Patrick Zanio and captain Scotty Barger on the poles. One of the keys to their season will be how the defense plays without transfer Barger in the lineup for the first half of the season due to the eligibility rules of a transfer student. With all of last season’s starters returning, this group of talented and motivated players have their sights set on winning the South Coast league and making a run in the playoffs after getting knocked out of the first round by Foothill in last season’s playoffs. With the move up to the South Coast League, the Mustangs will face a much tougher schedule during the regular season. In addition to the tougher league schedule, the Mustangs have Great Oak and St. Margaret’s on the agenda. The increase in competition should help the Mustangs continue the progression towards the elite level.