Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Preps: Knights to face test against powerful Gryphons

Robinson’s boys soccer team has opened the season well, a 2-2 draw with Jesuit on Monday night opening some eyes around the bay area, and the Knights will get another strong test when they host Sickles on Thursday night.

The Gryphons have been dominant in their first three games of the season, winning all three by a combined score of 18-0. Knights coach Ken Thomas said he is looking forward to seeing how his young side fares against an experienced Gryphons squad. Robinson has been an athletic and somewhat physical team in previous seasons, but is now seeing young players with greater playing ability join the program. Thomas thinks the discipline his young players have shown is the principle reason why his side has been able to have the success it has so far.

“We definitely lost six or seven seniors last year that were primarily athletes more than soccer players,” Thomas said. “In the process, we’ve picked up about four or five soccer players to replace the athletes with. I think because of the youth, the younger players coming in are more receptive and more open-minded, which makes them more disciplined, which is really the key to our success so far.”

At the center of the team the Knights have Kody Thomas, who will be a pivotal player in Thursday night’s game. The Knights took a 2-0 lead in the first half against Jesuit before Thomas was ejected for his second yellow card of the game. With Boris Simeunovic leading the Gryphons going forward, and Ben Wiley providing an able accomplice, Thomas will have to play a disciplined game if the Knights are going to have a chance to spring another surprise.

“(Kody) is going to be absolutely huge in tomorrow’s game plan, because it’s no secret (Simeunovic) is an absolute scoring machine for them, you can tell they like the play the ball through him, and (Wiley) likes to get his assists through (Simeunovic),” Ken Thomas said. “Tomorrow night is going to be a true test of Kody’s composure, maybe more than of his soccer skill.”

From the other sideline, Sickles coach Tony Calvo said he is looking forward to the challenge Robinson should pose his side.

“This is a very interesting game for us,” Calvo said. “They tied Jesuit a couple of nights ago, which really shows that Robinson is finally becoming a team. I know they’ve had a lot of young players in the past when we’ve played them. I know his goalkeeper (Tony Seleznick) is phenomenal, I had the privilege of coaching him a few years back, so it’s going to be an interesting game.”

Calvo credits the strong start his side has made to the season to the rigorous training sessions they have been through. The work that the side has put in on the training field has certainly paid off competitively, with five Gryphons having multiple goals this season.

“They’re training every day hard, and they’re taking one game at a time,” Calvo said. “They’re treating every opponent as a strong opponent.”

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