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Dodge City Daily Globe - Dodge City, KS
  • Conqs looking to improve on record 2012 season

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  • The first words out of Tim Romanello's mouth after the final game of last season is that he's no longer going to be "Mr. Nice Guy.""Nice guys are content with how things are going and sometimes don't really push towards succeeding," Romanello said after his Conquistadors men lost in the regional semifinals in Topeka. "I'm tired of getting beaten by the Bartons and the Butlers when I know I have the chance of winning over these teams and not just suffice being close to their level."It's time to start winning and I'm going to do everyting I can this offseason to get a much stronger club out there and compete for the regionals."That overall with the Conqs' men means only six players out of a possible 15 brought back from 2012 despite a program-best 12-8 record and their first regional tournament experience: forward German Aguirre, midfielders Dominuque Mays (all-conference), Diego Chulan and Sam Sanchez, and defenders Martin Gonzalez and Vicente Estrella."The players we have brought back have a combination of the right technique and the right attitude on and off the field. Tehcniclly, you have to have players who can compete and we needed a new group to push the envelope in their fitness and their desire on and off the field. I think we can be competitive and can do that."Romanello also hopes the Conqs playing on their own field on campus instead of playing at Memorial Stadium to help in getting players to play at a high level, as well as in recruiting for future seasons."Our new facility is fantastic," Romanello said. "I don't think we'll reap the full benefit this year, but we will in the next couple of years."One aspect that will be different when it comes to the Conqs is the amount of experience some players will bring into the season.Four players from the Dodge City area competed for Major League Soccer academy teams last season instead of the high school. Midfielders Rene Rodriguez and Mauro Hipolito and defender Cristian Verduzco all played for the Sporting Kansas City Academy, while defender Hector Navarro was a member of the Colorado Rapids Academy."They bring a certain amount of experience where they have played under a more stressful game than in high school. It's a step above high school that has prepared them to play the college game. You don't have to worry about them adjusting to that pace of play, because they're used to that pace. We just have to wait to see them have to adjust to the physicality of the college level."Two players also transfer to play in Dodge City this season -- forward Will Mims from Dallas Baptist and goalkeeper Cesar Flores from Garden City, who played at Barton College last year. The Conqs also bring back defender Aaron Arrendondo, who sat out the 2012 season due to family issues. Dodge City will have five players with international experience on the roster. Midfielder Ben Carter has dual citizenship in the United States and England, so he would not count towards the four internationals allowed on the squad. The others include forward Aymen Ben Hadj Slama (Tunisia), and midfielders Matt Hayes (England), Kalaka Matundu (England) and Roger Rizzi (Brazil)."They will allow us to play quick and get forward in a hurry," Romanello said.Romanello said the starting goalkeeper has been a preseason fight as Flores has battled former DCHS goalkeeper Alex Rodela and Miguel Cabrera (Longview, Texas) to mind the goal."All of them have been very very good in training camp," Romanello said. "It's nice to have options."The coach sees Navarro and Verduzco as starting defenders with both being tall, agile, physical and technical. Also competing for the starting spots besides those already mentioned are Cristian Gandara (Liberal) and Michael Reyes (Garden City).Romanello said the main focus for the team is to succeed. With a second Jayhawk Conference team now getting a chance to compete in the national tournament, it makes it all the most important to not let up against anybody."If we match 12 wins and get to the tournament in Topeka, then it's a good season; but we're looking at winning a regional tournament, then we can play at the nationals," Romanello said. "If we can play at a high tempo, then we have an excellent chance of reaching our goal."MEN'S SOCCER SCHEDULEAug. 23 at NW Wyoming, 8:30 p.m.Aug. 24 vs. North Idaho, 3 p.m.Aug. 30 at Otero, 9:30 p.m.Sept. 4 vs. Lamar (Garden), 8 p.m. Sept. 7 Hesston, 3:30 p.m.Sept. 11 NW Kansas Tech, 4:30 p.m.Sept. 14 Independence, 3 p.m.Sept. 18 Barton, 3:30 p.m.Sept. 21 at Kansas City (Kan), 4 p.m.Sept. 25 at N.Okla.-Tonkawa, 4 p.m.Sept. 28 Cowley, 3:30 p.mOct. 2 at Lamar, 5 p.m.Oct. 5 at Pratt, 4 p.m.Oct. 9 at Coffeyville, 6 p.m.Oct. 13 Allen County, 3:30 p.m.Oct. 19 at Cloud County, 4 p.m.Oct. 26 Johnson County, 3:30 p.m.Oct. 30 Neosho County, 3:30 p.m.

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