Monarchs are quietly making a statement

The Meadowbrook boys’ soccer program has quietly become a consistent winner over the past four seasons. The under the radar Monarchs have won at least 11 games in each of the past four seasons and came a win away from qualifying for regionals last fall. Under first year head coach Gabriel Hochstetler, Meadowbrook has gotten off to a 4-0-1 start in 2014.

“There’s more consistency in us this season,” said standout Rudy Argueta, the team’s senior leader. “We practice after big wins; we look forward to practice so that we can get ready for the next game.”

The Monarchs have a balanced team, with three senior leaders in Argueta, Heber Quintanilla, and Walter Munguia. All three are stalwarts and provide leadership in different ways.

Argueta is the team’s vocal leader. Outspoken and strong, he expects his teammates to give 100 percent in practice and during games. An intense player, he mans the midfield and the backfield. The senior recently signed to play at Montgomery Community College (MD) next fall.

“We’ve had a lot of great players in the program,” said Hochstetler. “But Rudy going to college sends a message to our underclassmen that college soccer is possible.”

Quintanilla and Munguia provide quiet leadership for the Monarchs as Quintanilla is an attacking midfielder and Munguia is a big bodied defender. Quintanilla along with junior Fernando Estrada and Myles Smith form the Monarch’s primary attack. Estrada leads the team with six goals while Smith has four. Goalie Bernardo Mejia has also provided solid play in the net.

If you talk to the Monarchs, they attribute much of the team’s success to chemistry, as some members of their roster have been playing together since middle school- in some cases, six or seven years. Add this to improving on field communication and increased focus and it’s easy to see why the team has gotten off to a hot start.

“We’re together all the time,” explained Argueta. “Before practice, after practice, before and after class,” he continued. “We like each other.”

The communication and chemistry has led to improvements in their quick touch offense, making them move the ball up the field faster on offense. The Monarchs hustle on both offense and defense, and get a majority of second chance balls.

“The communication on the field has gotten better,” said Hochstetler. “But it’s still a work in progress – we need to start strong in that aspect and keep it up the whole game.”

Perhaps as important as being comfortable with each other is being comfortable with one’s soccer abilities. Hochstetler says that he can see where his players are getting there, playing comfortably with the ball at their feet and also in their abilities to take players one-on-one.

Last Thursday, Meadowbrook defeated Thomas Dale 3-1. While this year’s version of the Knights is in more of a “rebuilding” mode than usual, the victory was still an important one for Meadowbrook. The win marked the first time since 1997 that the Monarchs defeated the Knights. Many team members weren’t born the last time Meadowbrook won – 17 years ago.

With the move to Conference 12, Meadowbrook has shown they can compete, defeating Clover Hill and Manchester while tying Matoaca 2-2. Prince George is a contender for a conference title and the teams play April 22 – this should give the Monarchs a true indicator of where they lie in the playoff race and their goal of winning a conference championship. Keep track of Meadowbrook soccer and all other spring sports with us on twitter @VNewsSports.

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