Rancho soccer girls to kick off season at Piner Tourney
Coach Holmberg switches formations for new season
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By Michael Moritz  August 22, 2014 12:00 am

After a week of conditioning and training, Rancho Cotate High School’s girls’ soccer team kicks off its season today (Aug. 22) with the annual Piner Tournament in Santa Rosa.

The two-day event concludes Saturday (Aug. 23). The Cougars’ first opponent will be Healdsburg, followed by Eureka and Arcadia. Rancho Cotate won all three tournament games last year, including a victory over Eureka.

The performance in the tournament last year touched off a six-game win streak, and the Cougars eventually wound up 10-10-3 overall. They lost 3-1 to North Bay League rival Windsor in the opening round of the North Coast Section Div. II playoffs. Fifth-year head coach Dennis Holmberg believes this year’s incoming crop of freshmen may help the Cougars improve upon last year’s mark.

Holmberg will be assisted by Eric Meuse, Marcus De Leon, and junior varsity head coach Chris Howard.  The four of them plan to implement a new offensive formation this season, which should allow for a more flexible midfield.

“Last year we played a 4-3-3, but we’re changing it to a 4-4-2 diamond formation this season,”  Holmberg said.

This is one of the most balanced sets in soccer because it features a defensive midfielder to prevent against fast breaks, but also an attacking midfielder to assist the two forwards.  

The versatility of Rancho’s new formation will give the Cougars an opportunity for more passes and a greater ability for the outside backs to attack the net.  

Those who can’t catch the three games in Santa Rosa  this weekend will have a chance to see the Cougars for the first time on Aug. 25 when they play their first home game against Healdsburg at 6 p.m. at Cougar Stadium. That game will be the first of four consecutive at home for Rancho Cotate, as they’ll host El Molino Aug. 27 at 7 p.m., St. Vincent de Paul of Petaluma at 7 p.m. on Aug. 29 and Willits at 6 p.m. on Sept. 3.

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