It’s not the way Steve Vargas would’ve liked to begin Central Sequoia League play, but the head coach for the Kingsburg boys soccer team said a 1-0 loss to Exeter was “something to build off of.”
“A 1-0 loss isn’t good, but it’s not bad,” Vargas said. “What I see out of this game is something simply as that we started clicking again.”
Vargas - who is in his first year as coach - added that he was hopeful about getting a win and the team is improving after each game.
“We have nothing but upside right now,” he said. “When I came in, experience was at a low level, game by game they’re getting better …we’re in every game.”
The Vikings’ loss to Exeter occurred on Jan. 11, which dropped them to 3-9 overall and 0-1 in CSL play. Kingsburg was supposed to start league play against Selma on Jan. 9, but it was postponed to this past Monday. The Exeter game was also the Viking’s first action since Dec. 13.
Currently, Kingsburg is on a four-game losing streak and have been held scoreless during that skid. The last time the Vikings scored was against Caruthers in a 5-1 win at a tournament in Fowler on Dec. 8.
Against Exeter, Kingsburg failed to score on several close shots and Vargas said finishing possessions has been an issue for the team this season.
“Our finishing is really killing us,” Vargas said. “We’re looking to find that finisher. It’s not happening, we’re trying to combine finishers up there, it’s not working.”
Vargas said the team’s scoring issues is something that needs to be fixed, especially with tough CSL opponents like Selma and Dinuba next on the schedule. Selma is 10-4-3 overall, 1-0 in CSL play and Dinuba is 9-5-2 and won its first two league games.
Last week, both teams had shutout victories in their CSL games, as Selma defeated Immanuel 9-0 at home and Dinuba won 4-0 against Central Valley Christian on the road.
Despite the slow start, Vargas’ goal for the team is to win enough games in league to qualify for the California Interscholastic Federation Div. IV playoffs. The Vikings last made the playoffs during the 2015-16 season when they lost to No. 3 seeded Kerman 3-0 as a No. 14 seed.
Qualifying for the playoffs is important for the seniors on the team, according to Vargas.
“We’re looking to compete,” Vargas said. “We’re looking to compete for the [Valley] championship, and this result doesn’t change it.”
On Monday, Kingsburg played Selma in a road game, which Vargas said he expected “a good game” before the squads met for the first time this season.
“I know a lot of their players, I see our players and I know our players could compete with them.” Vargas said. “I know we’re the underdog, but I do see to get a result out of that game.”
After Monday’s game against Selma, the Vikings will play Dinuba at home on Wednesday, Jan. 17. Then, Kingsburg will play Central Valley Christian on the road in a CSL game on Jan. 19.
Note: Story doesn’t include Selma/Kingsburg result since game was before press time.