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Falcons set big goals for new season

A young Forest Lake Christian soccer team looks to contend for the Central Valley Christian League title.
By: Joshua Ansley Journal Sports Writer
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If confidence is the most necessary element to have in order to be successful, then the Forest Lake Christian soccer team should be in good shape as the season progresses. The 1-4 Falcons are not dismayed by a tough start. In fact, the team is looking to be on top of the Central Valley Christian League by the end of the season. Considering two of Forest Lake’s losses have been to teams from much larger schools like Placer and Nevada Union, it is not too far fetched to envision the Falcons winning the CVCL. The team has two big-time starters returning from last season in middle-forwards Michael Sparling and Randy VanWinkle. Sparling scored four goals last season as a sophomore. VanWinkle, a senior, was one of the leaders on the team with six goals. His ability to get shots at the goal parallels no other teammate. He attempted 68 goals in 2009. VanWinkle also led the team with six assists. Senior forward Andrew Baker will also be a formidable scorer for the Falcons. He tied with VanWinkle, scoring six goals last season. Junior Josh Hengel will step in as goalie this year, replacing three-year starter Aaron Anderson, who compiled 160 saves last season to go with six shutouts. Junior Max Kosak and senior Andrew Hummel will join Hengel on the defensive end. They will have large shoes to fill as well, having to replace a great former defenseman in Chris McCowan Forest Lake is looking for solid contributions from Brandon Kaminski and junior Shane Soria, who will be at middle-forward. They will be taking over after the loss of Jessie Allred, who had an excellent season last year, and Justin Raskin, who transferred to Del Oro High. The largest question for the Falcons this season will be about the play of three starting freshman; forward Christian Hengel, middle-forward Jacob Yarborough, and middle-forward Hunter Seman. Seman, who also plays competitive soccer for the Placer United Development Academy, said he is ready for the challenge. “I like to play with a lot of confidence,” Seman said. “There were times I was intimated, but that happens to everyone at some point.” Seman has a motto for the team to keep it going strong. “Ride or die Falcons,” he said. “It means, we’re all heart.” The team is all heart, and apparently very much on the same page in terms of expectations. Seman said he thinks the team will win the CVCL this year. Thad Kopec, who has coached the Forest Lake Christian Falcons for 28 years reiterated Seman’s high expectations. “I think this is the year we’re going to win league,” Kopec said. “Our only problem right now is that we’re scoring for the other team because of deflections.” Against Colfax High on Sept. 7, Forest Lake was in a 1-1 tie before deflecting the ball into the net late in the game, and essentially handing Colfax its 2-1 victory. Although the deflections are a concern for Kopec, the coach said the biggest problem is on defense after giving up five goals in losses to Placer and Nevada Union. “I’m probably going to make some adjustments to get a little more help on the defensive end, even if it means we have a harder time scoring,” Kopec said. Kepec is used to making adjustments so far this season. Forest Lake has already had to go without senior Garrett Koch, who sustained a concussion against Placer and had has to sit out a few games. Koch said he was going up for a header and got an elbow to the back of the head. But Koch said he’ll be ready when he gets his chance again. “I’ll do whatever it takes to help the team win,”he said. Like Seman and Kopec, Koch said he also believes this is the year that Forest Lake will win league. With such a young team, Kopec said the high expectations stretch even further than just one season. “We’re looking to the future,” he said. Forest Lake will play Sacramento Waldorf High on Sept. 15. It will be a good test for the team before facing Cristo Rey on Sept. 28, which both Kopec and Koch said will be the team’s toughest opponent.