Last season didn’t go the way Tooele girls soccer head coach Ruth Alvarez may have wanted.
The Buffaloes finished fourth in the five-team Region 11 and made it to the first round of the playoffs with a 6-10 record before ending the season with a 8-0 shellacking at the hands of Dixie.
But even within region play, Tooele scored an average of nearly three goals a game — a respectable offensive statistic.
“Every year we’ve gotten progressively better and better,” said head coach Ruth Alvarez, who is entering her fourth season as head coach at Tooele.
Either way, things are bound to look up for the Buffaloes, who open the season today at West High School.
Alvarez said this year’s team is something to be excited about.
“I expect a lot of good things out of these girls,” Alvarez said. “Technically speaking, I think this is the strgonest group of girls across the board.”
Alvarez said her squad likes to keep ball possession and can play a variety of formations — anything from a 5-4-1 to a 4-3-3.
“I don’t like to play directional a lot,” Alvarez said. “That means you’re just pounding the ball downfield. I like to possess because it takes a lot of technical ability to control the ball and keep it.”
Led in part by senior Kenya Russell who led the team in goals last season, Alvarez said she thinks her squad will be able to incorporate more offensive strengths. Alvarez said as a whole, defense has been the strength of her team, though that may shift as the season progresses.
“This year with the girls having improved technically, I think that offensively we’re be able to play forward,” she said. “I just see our team more structured and more strong as a whole.”
Alvarez said deep-rostered Bear River definitely has a target painted on their jerseys as a favorite to win the league after advancing to the state quarterfinals last season, but is said her team should be able to compete.
“You know, I would say just the technical abilities coming in and the understanding of the game,” she said, “this is a strong stretch, but we should be able to be in the running for Region 11.”