Mountain View boys finally getting healthy after injury-riddled start to soccer season

Mountain View High soccer
Megan V. Winslow / Town Crier
Mountain View High’s Winston Shustock pursues the ball in Friday’s game against Fremont.

Reinforcements are on the way for the Mountain View High boys soccer team, depleted by injuries this season. Coach Jim McGuirk said he expects several players back on the field this week.

But will they be returning soon enough to help the Spartans make a playoff push?

“I think making a run may be tough, though, as they have all been out for over a month, so they will get limited time at first until they are in game shape,” said McGuirk, who’s had six starters miss multiple games. “I’m sure they will also all be a bit behind, since they have missed so much. At this point, (it’s) just kind of one game at a time, not really thinking too much about the big picture.”

A year ago, Mountain View was part of the playoff picture. The fifth-seeded Spartans reached the Central Coast Section Division I semifinals, where they lost 2-1 to No. 8 Lincoln. It marked the ninth consecutive year that Mountain View has qualified for the postseason.

Stretching that streak to 10 years will likely take a furious finish by the Spartans. Friday’s 5-0 rout of visiting Fremont boosted Mountain View’s record to 2-3 in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League De Anza Division (fifth place) and 5-8 overall.

Friday’s five goals – two of which came from senior forward Manny Rozay – were the most the Spartans have scored in a game all season. In the team’s 12 games before that, Mountain View totaled just 18 goals.

It hasn’t helped that forward Dustin Tang has been among the injured. The sophomore – along with senior midfielders Ben Lau and Winston Shustock, and senior goalie Jacob Gitin – “have been our most important players,” McGuirk said.

Lau and Shustock helped carry the offensive load in Mountain View’s 3-0 home victory over Homestead Jan. 10. Both players scored a goal and junior midfielder Mateo Angel tallied the other. Defensively, “Gitin made a couple of real nice saves in goal to keep the shutout,” according to the coach.

Considering that Mountain View played without a slew of starters, the win “was probably our best all-around game all year,” said McGuirk, in his 30th season as coach.

That win – along with Friday’s – has kept the Spartans’ slim playoff hopes alive, and McGuirk praised his reserves for helping make that happen.

“All the guys filling in have done a real nice job,” he said.

Mountain View is scheduled to visit Palo Alto 3:30 p.m. today, then host Santa Clara at the same time Friday in another league match-up.

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