Streator Bulldogs continue winning tradition in boys soccer
Streator Township High School’s boys soccer team and coach Jim Muntz are setting their sights on the team’s 23rd straight winning season.
The Streator Bulldogs have 27 varsity players, 11 of whom are starters from last season’s 16-5-1 team that tied for second place in its school history for most wins in a season.
“We are very athletic and have a good mixture of soccer experience and athleticism,” Muntz said. “They worked hard in the off season.”
Muntz, who is in his 24th year as coach of the Bulldogs, said the team’s main strength is defense. Returning starter junior Alonzo Flores mans the sweeper position, while All-Interstate selection senior Tyler Russow splits time in the stopper position with Peyton Phillis.
Muntz said he wants the Bulldogs to continue to develop on offense.
“We need to improve with ball possession and controlling the tempo of the game,” he said.
Leading returning scorer Brian Mushimba, who knocked in 17 goals and had seven assists last season, is the primary scoring threat.
Both offense and defense shined when the Bulldogs defeated Interstate 8 rival the Reed-Custer Comets 7-0 on Sept. 6. Zach Grabowski had two assists, while Alan Albarran, Mushimba and Brian Vazquez each had two goals. Mitch Vickers added one goal and two assists. Goalie Wes Jolly recorded the win and shutout.
Streator recently won the Fifth Annual Streator Challenge Cup.
“I started that because we have a week in the season where we didn’t have any games so it gave us an opportunity to get another tournament and play a few extra games,” Muntz said. “We switched conferences two years ago so what we did was we invited some of the conference schools from our old conference to play. This is the first year that we won.”
In addition, on Aug. 27 the Bulldogs hosted and won the 22nd Annual Streator Invitational Tournament, also launched by Muntz. The Bulldogs defeated Interstate 8 rivals Coal City, Peoria Manual and Sandwich. Earning tournament honors were Mushmiba, Vazquez, Tanner Kennedy, Vickers and Russow.
“I started the invitational tournament the second year after I came here,” Muntz said. “It’s an opportunity to get in a few more games during the course of a day. We have won that tournament 12 times in 22 years.”
Muntz said the Bulldogs are a well-knit group of players.
“The players feed off of each other," he said. "We have good senior leadership this year, as well as in the past. The players seem to gel.”
Hard working, aggressive and honest are the qualities Muntz said he seeks in his players.
In September Streator picked up a 3-2 Interstate 8 victory against Herscher High School. It was the 300th career win for Muntz.
“We have had good quality players along the way who helped me reach that milestone,” Muntz said. “Every year brings new memories.”
The Bulldog’s season runs through October.