Coach Gabriel Hochstetler has built a boys soccer program at Meadowbrook High that’s been knocking at the door of the state tournament for the...

Coach Gabriel Hochstetler has built a boys soccer program at Meadowbrook High that’s been knocking at the door of the state tournament for the past several years.

After a 10-6 mark and falling to Mills Godwin last season, he and the Monarchs hope to find a high-water mark this year despite a young roster.

Meadowbrook lost three skilled seniors at each level: a defender, a midfielder and a striker. Penny Senior, Elvin Romero and Juan Menjivar have moved on, but the Monarchs still have talent to burn. Of note, Senior is working out with Randolph-Macon College, while Menjivar had a successful season at Richard Bland College.

The goalie is Natanael Garcia. At 5 feet 11 inches and 190 pounds, the quick athletic Garcia made 60 saves last season, allowing just 1.6 goals per contest. Hochstetler says his keeper has improved his technical skills and that could be bad news for opposing offenses.

Senior Rifaht Abdellah and junior Douglas Pixabaj return as defenders who were promoted from junior varsity last season and logged valuable minutes of experience.

In the midfield, Louis Escobar will lead the way. A tall, strong player who acts as the first line of defense in the words of his coach, has a good vision for helping start the attack. Erli Guerra, a junior, is new to the program and should contribute, and senior Eliam Mora returns from an injury to help solidify the middle of the field. 

Highlighting Meadowbrook’s attack is Moses Mora, a senior who scored nine goals last year as a junior. This will be a more youthful portion of the team, and freshman Edwin Romero has already turned some heads in the program. Hochstetler said Romero already made an impact on the team, possesses a strong shot, and is player to watch this year.

Hochstetler has ramped up the schedule’s intensity this year, adding teams like Mills Godwin, J.R. Tucker and Deep Run.

“This is the youngest team I’ve coached,” he said. “It will be important for them to get off to a good start and get in a rhythm early.”