The Monarchs fell in the second straight year to a tough Mills Godwin team in the regionals. After losing 2-1 in 2014, they fell 2-0 last season. A host of solid returning players and one of the deepest Meadowbrook squads will take aim at a Conference 12 championship in coach Gabriel Hochstetler’s third season.
Meadowbrook finished 10-6-3 and returns a number of talented pieces off last year’s team including two top tier defenders in Jafeth Varela and Ajahli Challenger. Challenger earned first team all-conference 12 honors. Offensively speaking, Juan Carlos Martinez will quarterback the team as a top midfield option while Jorge Garcia, a player that didn’t make as a big of an impact he could have had in 2015, returns on the left side, playing forward. A more offensive player than a midfielder, he will be counted on to ignite the Monarchs on offense.
That talented group will look to join the ranks for three recent Monarchs who have appeared on college rosters over the past three seasons: Rudy Argueta, who’s returned as an assistant coach, Bernardo Mejla, who played in Delaware last year and Myles Smith, who got considerable playing time as a freshman this past fall at Chowan.
“This is the best team as a team I’ve had in three years of coaching,” said Hochstetler. “We’re deeper, physical and tough. We have a lot of guys that like to grind it out and are tough on the ball.”
With three years for the coaching staffs on both junior varsity and varsity, the boys soccer team has seen a consistent uptick in team chemistry as JV coach David Glass and Hochstetler have really been able to install their program and coaching styles.
After solid scrimmage wins over Midlothian (3-1) and Manchester (4-2), Meadowbrook started the year with two dominating wins over new Conference 12 foes Highland Springs (8-0) and Varina (4-0) to start the season.
The Monarchs will look to advance to the 5A South region for the third straight season. Before that happens, Meadowbrook would like to add a Conference 12 championship trophy to their collection. A victory in regionals would mark a school best.
Junior varsity coach Joe Farrell has taken the reigns as Meadowbrook girls soccer coach, replacing Ernest Chamberlain. He’ll look to drive improvement after a season that found the Monarchs winless, but with several building blocks on a senior heavy team that will look to find increased success.
Returning are captains Marlela Sanchez and Autumn Bradley. Both are four year varsity players and Bradley also stand outs on the volleyball court. Farrell says that Sanchez has never been off the field during her Meadowbrook career and earned 2nd team All-Conference. She’ll work back and forth between her primary position of defense and the midfield. Bradley is a team leader and plays
up front. While she plays very well in the midfield, Farrell wants to push her to be more of an attacker. Both of these players will start and finish each game.
“We have to convert on more opportunities as a team,” Farrell said. “We also need to create more opportunities while being more practically sound at midfield.”
Joining Bradley and Sanchez among the standouts are a pair of seniors: Morgan Douglas and Carmen Cerritos, Carmen’s younger sister Liz, a junior – along with an exciting freshman in Marisela Barron.
Douglas returns after a year off last year and will transition from defense to forward. Farrelll said that she may be one of the faster girls in the conference; possessing strong legs and great awareness. Carmen and Liz Cerritos will play midfield and defense respectively. Barron will play full back.
While Farrell acknowledged their was much improvement to be made, he says that he expects improvement – and victories.
Meadowbrook tennis heads into the 2016 season looking to continue to build on any piece of progress the programs can garner.
Coach James Freeman enters another season with the boys. He has got three returning players: senior Leewood Nguyen and juniors Morgan Harrison and Majd Hosn. A roster of just five Monarchs, rounding things out will be junior Eric Ramos and senior Kenny Gee.
Nguyen has been a varsity player since his freshman season and has been the Monarchs’ top option. A strong defensive player, Nguyen has racked up some victories over the past four seasons. Harrison and Hosn will bring experience to the table on a roster that will continue to fill out the roster and to have an opportunity to win nine points per match.
The girls tennis team at Meadowbrook is now led by first year coach Victor Smith. They too, are looking to build a winner in 2016.