Play hard, whether you get the results or not, because the harder you play the more successful you will be. Under this simple philosophy and the leadership of first-year head coach, Alex Rangel, the Canyon Del Oro girls’ soccer team has had a turn around game-winning season with a 9-4 record.

“This year I believe that we’ve grown closer and our chemistry is better,” said senior Bethany Vos. “We work as a team rather than individually, which helps us perform in the games better.”

For the last three years the Dorados have struggled against its opponents. In the 2010-2011 season they finished with a 9-10-1 record and in 2011-2012 finished 3-6-2.  Last year proved to be just as disappointing as they were outscored by opponents 58-27, and finished with 6-12-1 record. Coming into a new season, the Dorados were doubtful, but hopeful for change.

 “I wasn’t sure what to think at the beginning of the season. I knew he (Rangel) had more experience but didn’t know if it would help in the end,” said Vos. “In the end it did help a lot.”

Rangel played soccer all through high school at Flowing Wells, went on to play at Pima Community College and then finished his last two years at Columbia College in Missouri. He held an assistant coaching position at Columbia College and was a keeper coach for a club soccer league in town before being recommended and accepting the head coaching position at CDO. Little did Rangel know that his coaching would help bring the Dorados out of a three-year drought.

“When I started coaching them, I brought in a different mentality – more of a winners mentality. I wanted to teach them how to not only be successful but to become better soccer players and better teammates,” said Rangel. “There was the mentality that it’s not okay to lose.”

The Dorados season opener was against the Ironwood Ridge Nighthawks at the Brandon Bean Tournament where they lost 0-5. After losing the next game 0-1 against Buena High School, the Dorados went on a three game winning streak – later beating Buena 2-1.

“After our losses there was a change in mentality. The losses kind of woke us up,” said junior Jayme Pribula. “We realized we could do better than we did and that we have so much potential.”

The Dorados had finally found their stride. One of the key contributors to their success is Vos whose defensive aggressiveness and field awareness has helped lead the team each game.

“She’s one of those players that can take over the game at any time whether that’s by her dribbling the ball or a shot,” said Rangel. “She’s very talented and you can tell when she’s on the field.”

Other key players are seniors Kaitlyn Bogdanowich and Claire Keepers and juniors Pribula and Natalie Rudolph.  Pribula was a recent standout after being named the MVP of the Walden Grove Tournament on Jan. 4. The Dorados faced Salpointe Catholic High School (6-9-2) who they ended up beating 2-0 to win the championship.

“After winning I had a lot more confidence in myself and in our team,” said Pribula. “I’m looking forward to winning the rest of the games and hopefully going to state.”

CDO has three remaining games in the regular season and will host the last home game against Vista Grande (4-8) on Thursday, Jan. 30, at 6 p.m.

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