By Chris Parsons / Staff Writer
Entering the 2012 season, Corbin Redhound soccer coach Armando Cima got himself in a little bit of hot water regarding a statement he made to a few of his players’ parents.
The situation wasn’t made into a huge ordeal since the comment came in during an everyday conversation, but Cima said he could tell some of them were a little worried about what he had said when the veteran soccer coach told them he expected this year’s squad to advance to the round of the final eight in the KHSAA State Soccer Tournament.
Fast forward about two months and Cima’s expectations were turned into reality as he led the Redhounds to their deepest postseason run in the program’s history. After Saturday’s loss to the state’s top-ranked team, the St. Xavier Tigers, Cima said he was extremely happy with the 2012 campaign and gave all the credit for the deep run to his players.
“Those were expectations I had at the beginning of the year and one of the parents that I talk to all the time had asked me if I thought it was a good idea,” he said. “From his perspective it was a way for some of the other teams in the area to gain some motivation when they play us.
“Most people who know me will know that I didn’t mean it from a arrogant standpoint, but it was more of a call out to my own players to let them know that this is what we should aspire to,” he added. “I think that’s important to do with kids because you have to have expectations of them. They responded very well to it, so I’m pleased with the outcome of that.”
The Redhounds started the season red hot, scoring 24 goals in their first four matches as they started the season with a 4-0 mark. A loss to Madison Southern snapped Corbin’s unbeaten streak, but Cima’s squad recovered to win four of the next five contests to improve to 8-2 at that point.
That’s when things got a little rocky for the Redhounds, thanks to a few injuries to key players and a few more not being in the best shape possible.
“It was a rough season as far as having to make adjustments to some injuries,” Cima said. “We had some players who weren’t at the top of their health toward the end of the season and in the beginning of the district tournament, so it was a difficult time for us.
“But the kids battled back and fought for what they wanted, so I thought it was a huge accomplish to reach that goal considering some of that stuff,” he added.
As for next season, the Redhounds will officially lose 17 seniors to graduation. As far as playing time, many of them saw a significant amount, but what may be even harder to account for is the leadership they brought to the field.
“The seniors played a lot this year and especially toward the postseason,” Cima said. “We started 10 seniors with only one underclassman toward the end, so we’re putting a brand new team on the field next season.
“The good news is that it’s a very good team and I’m optimistic about that because we have a big junior class to fall back on,” he added. “I really think the experience some of these kids gained this season will go a long way over the next year or so, but there are some great personalities in this departing class that will be tough to replace as well.”