Oak Ridge hoping for improvement this season

By: Brett Ransford Telegraph Correspondent
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Since joining the Delta River League and the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I competition in 2009, Oak Ridge boys’ soccer has struggled to find its groove. Head coach Henry Reis and the Trojans were runners up in the Division II Championship in 2007 and 2009, but have since made the Division I postseason once in three years since joining the ranks with powerhouse teams like Jesuit and Davis Sr. – winners of that last three section championships. Their first game of the 2012-2013 season has the Trojans still searching for a style indicative of a team consistently headed to playoffs. McClatchy beat Oak Ridge 2-0 on Tuesday at Trojan Stadium, scoring a goal in each half and forcing both goalkeepers to make a number of saves. Sophomore goalkeeper Connor Hayes had five saves in the first half. Junior goalkeeper Tanner Rosenbaum had four saves in the second. The Trojans managed just four shots, one of which was on frame. The lack of offense looks to be an early trend for Oak Ridge. “I have higher expectations of us than last year, but the boys need to work and find their chemistry and where they belong on the field,” said Reis. “We’re not as technical as we were last year, but these kids think [about the game] better.” Both of Reis’ captains this season are senior defensemen, who have been with Reis for four years – Kevin Hanson and Payam Mowzooni. While Reis said Hanson and Mowzooni are certainly deserving of their respective captainships, he also said offensive leadership will come with time. “We don’t really have primary forwards,” said Sean Miller, a junior midfielder. “Most of us are attacking midfielders. We just hope to not be as bad as last season.” Oak Ridge finished at the bottom of the league last season. After being shutout and two goals scored on his defense, Mowzooni was optimistic about games upcoming. “This is our first game, but Oak Ridge has never really had an offensive-based soccer team. We’re more of a center midfield and defensive team,” said Mowzooni. “We tried three or four different formations today and we’re still trying out who will be playing what position.” Tough opponents in Bella Vista and Cordova await Oak Ridge, before plunging into Folsom and Jesuit in its first two games of league.