At least if they’re serious about slowing the Vikings’ drive for a boys soccer league championship.
The bad news? Nobody has stopped Hueneme yet, which remains undefeated at 12-0-3 overall and 4-0-3 in league.
The worst news? Hueneme isn’t close to playing at full efficiency.
“The truth is that we’re in a rediscovery process,” said longtime head coach Tuck Engelman. “We really haven’t played up to our potential since coming back from our Christmas break. There are periods, for sure, when we play just beautiful soccer. But we haven’t come close to playing that way for a full game.”
Engelman, in his seventh season as the head coach, admits it’s been a perplexing period as his team seeks to find its top gear.
“It may be scary for other teams, because we really will be tough to beat if we’re playing at the top of the game,” he said. “But it’s also disappointing for us because we just can’t seem to put it together.”
Then again, the Vikings aren’t likely to reap any sympathy from opponents.
With just three games left in the Pacific View League season, Hueneme has all but locked up the program’s first league championship.
A league chase that was expected to resemble a demolition derby has turned into a Sunday drive by the beach.
Only Pacifica, itself unbeaten in league at 2-0-5 (9-3-5 overall), has any chance to run down Hueneme.
“I thought we had a chance to be pretty good this season,” said Engleman. “But I never expected to be undefeated at this point in a league as tough as ours.”
Balance as efficient as a set of Michelins has helped the Vikings move up to a No. 2-ranking in the CIF-Southern Section Division III.
Gustavo Navarro has been a force on offense, and tallied the lone goal in a 1-0 victory over Camarillo last Friday, Orlando Rodriguez has led the defensive effort.
“We’re getting contributions from a lot of players,” said Engleman. “That’s been one of the keys for us. We’ve got good team chemistry.”
The next challenge becomes the CIF-SS playoffs.
A year ago, the Vikings reached the second round in Division 4 before losing by penalty kicks to Norwalk.
The Vikings will take one step at a time, said Engelman.
“It’s very difficult to win in postseason because there are so many factors,” he said. “But I feel good about our chances. We just need to be playing well when we get there.”
A cut above: Moorpark High boys soccer coach Juan Barron said senior striker Juan Ortiz ranks with any player in the region.
“He’s a special talent,” Barron said. “He makes thing happen for us.”
It was particularly distressing for the Musketeers when Ortiz missed one game recently with an untimely injury that occurred not on the field, but in the classroom.
Ortiz suffered a cut to his hand while working in ceramics’ class.
“We’re just happy he wasn’t out any longer,” Barron said.
Ortiz returned to the lineup last Friday vs. Simi Valley.