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The Canby Cougars end their season 1-12-1 overall, but coach Munoz sees positives going forward

HERALD PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - The Canby Cougars finished their 2017 season with a record of 1-12-1. The team graduates five seniors, and finishes at the bottom of the Three Rivers League. Canby—It was not the fairy tale season that many had hoped it would be for the Canby boys soccer team at the outset. After defeating the Beaverton Beavers 1-0 in the season opener, the Cougars would go winless through their next 13 games, a stretch that saw they taste defeat 12 times. The lone draw was a 2-2 outing against the Tualatin Timberwolves on Wednesday Oct. 4. Canby was scored on 50 times, and only found the net themselves 17 times, and finished at the bottom of the Three Rivers League.

With all of that in context though, the season did offer up a few bright spots in hindsight. Canby saw the emergence of sophomore Ian Quinlan as one of the new strikers to look forward to in the future. Canby coach Ivan Munoz was pleasantly surprised to see Quinlan step up.

"Ian up front (surprised me)," Munoz said. "We scored 17 goals this season, and out of them Ian scored 11 of them. He was nominated, at the end of the season when we have the meeting with the coaches, he was nominated for all league. That was because of his hard work, he scored 11 goals out of the 17 we scored all season."

There were other silver linings in the seasons grey clouds. Munoz was optimistic about his team's chances, but realized they were young and relatively inexperienced. Towards the end of this season, Munoz and his coaching staff began to prepare for the upcoming year.

"For the future, I think the strikers were the ones that showed the most improvement," Munoz said. "This year, Ian (Quinlan) up front, the forwards, somebody like (freshman) Christian (Pottratz) who is a freshman, even though he suffered injuries too."

"I'm very confident that next year our defense, even though we got 50 goals against this year, I believe the defense is going to come back strong," Munoz added. "We suffered a lot of injuries. Somebody like (junior) David (Bernal), (freshman) Kiko (Francisco Cabello), (junior) Kris (Lopez), (junior) Engie (Delgado), those players are going to come back stronger, they're going to make the team a better team defensively. I feel that we have a good potential for that next season."

Munoz was also quick to laud the four graduating seniors and what they contributed to the team during the season. HERALD PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Senior Uriel Vega is one of the Canby boys soccer teams' graduating seniors. His senior season concluded with a 1-12-1 record.

"Joe Thompson leaves behind the leadership, and obviously we're going to miss the skill, but he taught the boys that they have to keep learning the game so that they can get better," Munoz said. "We had a very difficult season with the scoreboard, but Riley Jones was always supportive of the team. Uri Vega (had) the hard work ethic, the personality of a soccer player. He leaves that behind, that by working hard you can be on the team. That was another teaching moment for the players. What Spencer (Doman) left behind, he was a player that suffered a lot of injuries and he started the season as a starting 11 for us, a strong defender and a leader. He left behind the sportsmanship, and positives for the team. Even though he was on the bench, he was always supportive." HERALD PHOTO: TANNER RUSS - Senior captain Joe Thompson leaves his team with a 1-12-1 record overall. He was Canby's second highest scorer for the season.

And though the Cougars only score 17 goals by the seasons end, the coaches did manage to cross a few items off of their own to-do list. Primarily, getting the younger players experience playing under the bright lights in a varsity game.

"What we accomplished, we had a couple of freshmen, and incoming freshman in JV2, JV, and varsity, to help build the program up," Munoz said. "We had a couple of sophomores too to help build it. I believe that next year we should be stronger just because we have a lot of juniors that are going to be a year older, have more experience that will help. Based on the roster that I have, it seems like we are going to have 14, 15 players returning. That's a big benefit for us, we only graduate four. As you can see, it was a very young team. But we're going to have 14-15 players returning, plus four or five JV players that are going to be ready to make the step up. That was one of the goals we accomplished."

What Munoz takes pride in most is the perseverance his team showed during the tough run of the 2017 season.

"The boys never gave up."

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