Boys team looks for 2nd straight winning season
This was supposed to be a big week of preparation for Rosemount as it looked forward to the start of the South Suburban Conference boys soccer schedule next week.
Instead, the Irish have spend most of it staying out of the heat and trying to keep cool drinks nearby.
Coach Mike Floersch cut short Monday’s practice in the interest of safety. Tuesday’s scheduled home game against Minneapolis Roosevelt was not played because the Minneapolis district cancelled after-school activities, and Floersch decided against holding a practice. Early morning practices were not an option this week because teachers had to be in their buildings for workshops.
“This was going to be a big week for us,” Floersch said. “You could hold a practice, but in this heat it’s not going to be very productive. The players want to be able to get out and run, but at what cost? You just hope all the other schools are in the same boat.”
When the heat wave breaks, the Irish will go back to trying for a second consecutive winning season. They were 9-8-1 last season and graduated only three of their starters. They brought back the most senior-dominated team Floersch said he has had in years.
“The guys are coming into this season thinking they can win instead of trying not to lose, and that’s a step in the right direction for our program,” Floersch said. “That’s something a team like Apple Valley has been so good at. They go into a game thinking, ‘We’re going to win. Try and stop us.’”
One of the Irish’s top returnees is junior Kohl Sparrman, who scored 16 goals last season and was named All-South Suburban Conference. Rosemount’s captains are two senior midfielders, Andrew Smeed and Jacob Alex. Alex was honorable mention all-conference last season, as was senior defender Bennett Purfeerst.
Tanner Rons is a returnee in goal. Midfielders Erick Barrita and Andrew Weiler, along with senior defenders Brandon Hubbard and Luke Conway, also have varsity experience.
The Irish expected to be strong in the back, and that was borne out in their first two games as they did not allow a goal. They played to a scoreless tie at Farmington on Aug. 22 despite missing three starters because of injuries, then defeated Cloquet-Esko-Carlton 2-0 the next day.
“It would have been nice to come out of Farmington with a win, but we played well and they did too,” Floersch said.
As for the injured starters, one returned to practice this week and the other two have leg issues that are not expected to be long-term, Floersch said.
The Irish start conference play Tuesday at Prior Lake. One thing Rosemount would like to improve is its SSC record; last year the Irish were 2-6-1 in league play.
But this team has the attitude to play competitively in a tough league, Floersch said.
“They know what it’s going to take,” he added. “(The coaches) told them, ‘We can push you if you want to be pushed, or you can take the status quo and be happy with whatever you get.’
“They said, ‘Push us. Don’t worry about that. We want to do well.’”