Dave Cosgrove and the Pima College men's soccer team are coming off of a season to remember.
Last year included the coach's 200th win early in the season, then a 2-0 win over Yavapai in the Region I title game, and ended with a fifth-place finish at nationals.
So this season, the bar is set even higher. But it's going to be with a different team after Cosgrove started 10 sophomores last year.
"This is what we'd usually consider a rebuilding year but luckily we're an established program so it's more like reload than rebuild," the 16th-year coach said. "The expectations are very high."
The Star recently sat down with Cosgrove to find out more about his team, ranked No. 9 nationally, coming into this season:
What are your goals this season?
A: "Same as usual: win out region, which puts us in the national championship spotlight. If we get to our region championships that is like a national playoff - our national semifinal. If we can win our region, we're going to play for a national championship. That's been the goal from Day One and it continues to be."
What are some strengths of this year's team?
A: "We've got good goal scorers. We've got four or five guys who are real good options to score goals."
What is going to be the team's biggest weakness?
A: "I think it's going to be experience: We're just young. The kids are talented, they work hard and come from good programs, but just figuring out the season and the level of play, the physical requirements for the league, it'll take them a while. And then we'll have to see about our depth. That's a little bit of a question because we lost so many kids last year."
Who is going to be your toughest opponent?
A: "Yavapai. It's an unbelievable program so they're always going to be the benchmark. And they were very good last year; I'm sure they're not too happy they were upset at home last year in the playoffs by us. They're pretty motivated and have a lot of sophomores coming back."
• In women's soccer, former Ironwood Ridge striker Camie Barbera leads the team with five goals that she's produced in only two games. She had a hat trick in the season-opening 6-1 win and scored both goals in the team's second game, a 2-0 win.
• In football, Pat Nugent's squad looks to rebound from its season-opening loss when the Aztecs host Mesa in the home opener on Saturday at 7 p.m. at Kino Stadium. Pima beat the Thunderbirds 41-10 last year for its third win of the season.
• In cross county, both the men's and women's teams open the season Saturday at the George Kyte Invitational in Flagstaff.