The Irvine Valley men's soccer team had one of its better seasons in recent years in 2010 and the Lasers are looking to build on the success in 2011.
IVC finished with a 15-5-2 overall record, challenged for the Orange Empire Conference title and made the second round of the Southern California Regional Playoffs last year.
"It was a good year," said IVC Coach Martin McGrogan, who has been guiding the program since 1990 and has racked up more than 250 wins at the school. "We always hope for the best. We are really looking forward to another good season."
Irvine Valley did so with a number of freshman players in big roles.
The one who stood out the most was striker Fredy Razo. Razo was named second team all-West Region after setting a school record for goals (26) and points (58). His goal and point total ranked second in the state.
Razo finished with seven multi-goal matches for an IVC team that out-scored its opponents, 55-33.
"He has quick feet, makes good decisions and has a very good change of pace," McGrogan said. "He is brave, gets past people and takes his chances. He is special. There is no doubt about that."
But several other freshmen contributed heavily.
Among them were Shaun Murphy and Josh Ruiz, who helped anchor IVC's defense.
The Lasers gave up just one goal or less in 14 contests. Robert Hernandez and Martin Licea were also key freshman players for IVC.
Licea had three goals and two assists a season ago as a forward, but will play defense this year.
All five players are back along with 2009 MVP and all-conference player Brandon Mulhall, who red-shirted last year.
"We have the base of a good team coming back," McGrogan said. "We have good strength with those guys."
McGrogan is also counting on several promising newcomers to step in. Among them are forwards Christian Alvear (Century), Alex Cannas (El Toro) and Tyler Ortega (Woodbridge) midfielders Caio De Azevedo (Brazil), Juan Martinez (Beckman), Eduardo Oliva (Tesoro), Sota Maesawa (Woodbridge) and Josip Elez (Bosnia), defenders Luis Calderon (Stockdale) and Jony Chavez (Capistrano Valley) and goalies Alex Anderson (Capistrano Valley Christian) and Diego Chacon (Rancho Alamitos).
"We have some guys that look very useful," McGrogan said. "The team looks fairly strong. We look to be more creative and should have even more options up front this year.
"I think we will be a handful going forward."
Irvine Valley started its season on Tuesday with a match at Moorpark and will be in the Hartnell Tournament this weekend. The team plays its first home match on Sept. 14 against Rio Hondo at 3 p.m.