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Douglas County boys’ soccer clinches region title
by E. Marcel Pourtout
mpourtout@neighbornewspapers.com
March 26, 2014 11:20 AM | 1019 views | 0 0 comments | 30 30 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Samantha M. Shal<br>Douglas County junior Lysten Thomas, left, dribbles the ball around the field as junior Michael Botchway plays defense during practice earlier this season. The Tigers fell to Brookwood in the state semifinals.
Staff / Samantha M. Shal
Douglas County junior Lysten Thomas, left, dribbles the ball around the field as junior Michael Botchway plays defense during practice earlier this season. The Tigers fell to Brookwood in the state semifinals.
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When Douglas County boys’ soccer head coach John Cunningham took over the program five years ago, the Tigers struggled to compete with teams within the county itself. This season, Douglas County has fielded one of the most dominant teams in the state, undefeated through nine matches and securing its first region championship since 1998.

“This is what we’ve been working for and it’s hard to put into words how proud I am of these guys,” Cunningham said. “When I got here, there was a desire to win but not to work. This team wants to work, from our top players down.”

Douglas County fields an experienced roster led by several seniors, including midfielder Juan Carlos Serna along with defenders Jacob Bivens and Joey Kauffman.

“Juan is a leader who’s willing to stand up to teammates and represents everything you want from an athlete.” Cunningham said. “Jacob and Joey have played well for us and have helped develop the other defenders on the team.”

Cunningham also expressed approval of senior goalkeeper David Barrera, leading a defensive unit that has allowed only seven total goals this year and posted four shutouts.

The Tigers’ offense has produced strong numbers as well, averaging more than four goals per contest.

“Rooby Dalusma has been our primary forward and has been a powerful weapon for us due to his tremendous ability to see the field,” Cunningham said. “Juniors Lysten Thomas and Ayman Khan have also created opportunities for us to score goals.”

Lorenzo Camejo and Ope Dada have provided valuable contributions off the bench for Douglas County this season as well.

“We’ve been able to put together some good games by moving the ball and playing strong defense,” Kauffman said.

Serna said “we’ve been a hungry team since conditioning in the fall and bringing home a state championship to the school is something the whole team wants.”

With the season at the midway point, the Tigers are still working towards getting better.

“We’re working on field awareness, getting our defense to help start our offensive attack and finishing,” Cunningham said.

Douglas County returns to action on Friday against New Manchester.

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