2020-21 Dana Hills Soccer Preview: Proficient Dolphins Forge New Path in Pacific Hills League
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By Zach Cavanagh
Both approach, the 2020 soccer season was at all times going to be an odd expertise for the Dana Hills soccer staff.
Earlier than the coronavirus pandemic hijacked the world and pushing the soccer season from fall 2020 to spring 2021, the Dolphins’ soccer program was embarking on a brand new path, away from age-old rivalries and neighborhood battles.
On the lookout for a reset and a fast begin, Dana Hills left the Coast View Convention, which is cut up between the South Coast and Sea View leagues, to hitch the Pacific Coast League for soccer solely. Laguna Hills additionally left the Coast View Convention, however the Hawks joined the Pacific Coast League in all sports activities.
“We’re joyful within the convention in every little thing else,” Dana Hills athletic director Tom Faris mentioned of the transfer when he was introduced in 2019. “We will preserve attempting to construct this system, and we needed to get aid for a short while. “
With Dana Hills and Laguna Hills added to the six-team scrum beforehand totally at Irvine, the Pacific Coast League soccer turns into the eight-team Pacific Coast Convention and is cut up into two four-team leagues: the Pacific Valley League and the Pacific. Hills League, which Dana Hills and Laguna Hills will rightly name residence. Portola and Northwood are additionally a part of the Pacific Hills League.
The Dana Hills non-league schedule will embody nearly each different facet of the convention with Irvine, Beckman and Woodbridge. This yr’s sport with Irvine is a scrum on Friday, March 12. Faculty is the one Pacific Valley staff not on the Dolphins’ program this season.
That is simply the newest and largest resolution to alter the course of soccer for Dana Hills, which comes at a “strike whereas the iron is scorching” time in this system’s historical past.
Final season, the Dolphins bought off to the very best begin in class historical past, profitable their first six video games, together with wins over Pacific Coast League groups Irvine and Northwood. The Dolphins had been scoring in clusters and led by an aggressive defensive entrance that set college bag data.
Then their league schedule hit, and after dropping their first league sport at Laguna Hills by one level in extra time, the Dolphins went to a league document winless. Regardless of an general profitable document – Dana Hills’ first since 2009 – the Dolphins missed the playoffs as soon as once more.
Like most “finest program” teams, the Dolphins have misplaced affect seniors in key positions, however Dana Hills can also be arrange with the return of a few of its extra dynamic gamers. With this suggestions that soaks up the expertise of early final yr, the dolphins are able to make some noise.
Junior quarterback Bo Kelly is the primary on offense for Dana Hills, who cut up the time as a starter final season and has proven a robust arm and self-confidence. Kelly excelled in his sophomore yr, finishing 44% of his passes and throwing over 1,000 yards and 7 touchdowns.
Kelly might be solid to a gaggle of senior receivers together with Noah Simpson and Will Craven. Simpson is a dynamic participant who led the Dolphins in versatile yards and helped with pitches and punt returns. Simpson caught 46 passes for 515 yards and 5 touchdowns. The Omar Black switch from Mission Viejo provides to the group of receivers, which is able to convey an additional factor of velocity.
For Kelly, Simpson, Craven and the opposite offensive gamers, one other yr means one other season of offensive coordinator Curtis Madden’s offensive immersion. Madden, in his third yr at Dana Hills, can also be getting promoted to co-head coach alongside co-head coach Phil Skinner, who’s in his 14th yr with the Dolphins. With Skinner on the helm, Madden’s hiring and infusion helped take the duty and tradition of the Dana Hills soccer staff to the subsequent stage.
Former Northwood coach Paige Nobles, who will assist the protection, and former NFL quarterback Rob Robbins, who will work with Kelly and quarterbacks, additionally be a part of the Dana Hills teaching workers.
New defensive coordinator Khalil Watson is on the teaching workers. Watson is in his second yr with the Dolphins and succeeds Brad Carter, who took over as head coach at Cerritos Excessive College.
With the 2019 protection main ahead, this season’s Dolphin protection will lead from secondary place, as senior Lukas Saavedra locks in secondary. Saavedra led Dana Hills with two interceptions final season and racked up 39 tackles.
With all the weather in place and a clean slate within the Pacific Hills League, the Dolphins have the chance to proceed rising this system, and whereas there aren’t any playoffs to compete, a league title does. isn’t removed from the purpose.
Dana Hills misplaced by the slimmest of margins to Laguna Hills final season within the Sea View League, however the Hawks might be disadvantaged of their do-it-all star, Mitch Leigber, who has opted out of the season to organize to his tutorial profession at Stanford.
Portola received the Pacific Coast League final season in a shock. The Bulldogs are solely of their third yr of faculty soccer and their finest gamers have all graduated.
Lastly, in Northwood, the Dolphins will see a staff they beat in extra time. Nevertheless, the Timberwolves misplaced just one championship sport to Portola and in the end made the Division 12 playoffs, the place Dana Hills would have been had they certified.
The Dolphins have the motivation, they’ve the expertise they usually have the chance to interrupt new floor in a brand new convention with a brand new tradition.
Dana Hills Excessive College Soccer Program
(All sport occasions on Friday at 7 p.m. * point out the league sport)
Week 0 – March 12
Dana Hills in Irvine (melee)
Week 1 – March 19
Dana Hills vs. Beckman
Week 2 – March 26
Dana Hills vs. Woodbridge
Week 3 – April 2
Dana Hills to Laguna Hills *
Week 4 – April 9
Dana Hills vs. Portola *
Week 5 – April 16
Dana Hills vs Northwood * (at Irvine Excessive College)
Zach Cavanagh is the sports activities author for Picket Fence Media. Zach is a number of California Journalism Award winners and has been overlaying sports activities in Orange County since 2013. Observe him on Twitter and Instagram @ZachCav and observe our sports activities protection on Twitter @SouthOCSports. Electronic mail to [email protected]
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