The University Prep boys soccer team doesn’t need to look far for inspiration to make title run in Class 1A this season.
This fall, the Pumas girls soccer team brought home the 1A state crown.
First, the boys soccer team must overcome a 19-day break from matches for spring break. The Pumas (8-0-1 overall) lead the Emerald City League with a 5-0-0 mark going into matches against Overlake on Tuesday at 3:30 p.m. and Friday at Seattle Academy at 3:30 p.m.
“We come off of spring break today with three games to go and hope that we will be able to continue our winning ways despite the long layoff,” said University Prep coach Alec Duxbury, the 19th-year boys head man who also has coached the girls team for three years. “Spring break at our school is two weeks to accommodate our international travel program.
“Getting a team back on form after the spring break is a huge hurdle, especially as we have two critical league games this week.”
Duxbury was able take over the girls program in the fall of 2010 when the boys program moved from playing in the fall to the spring.
The boys program has made the state tournament seven times under Duxbury, the last time in 2008. The Pumas captured state titles in the state A/B class in 2004 and 2005.
“The boys are very motivated this year, partly because of the success of the girls soccer program at University Prep,” he said. “The girls won the championship this year (2012), were third last year (2011), and qualified for the tournament in 2010, and the boys really would like to see if they can equal that championship feat.”
U-Prep’s boys lead the Emerald City League over Bush (6-3-0) and Overlake (4-3-1), who are both 3-2-0 in league action. The Pumas close out league play at home on Wednesday, May 1 against the Northwest School in a 3:30 p.m. contest.
A tremendous offensive duo of U-Prep – forwards Tolossa Hassan (14 goals, 1 assist) and Blaine Thompson (10 goals, 5 assists) – powers the Pumas.
Gabe Rifkin is the team’s holding center midfielder and is a key cog in making the them go. Galen Brennan, a team captain, is the squad’s center back on defense.
U-Prep has outscored opponents in nine match by a 33-6 margin.
“The boys team is anchored around some strong players,” Duxbury said. “These players give the team a very strong spine and distribute the ball in such a way that lets us switch the point of attack quickly and use our speed up front. We are a possession-oriented team that insists we have 11 offensive players when we have possession of the ball and 11 defensive players when we don’t.”
Should the Pumas win the Emerald City League title, they are guaranteed a spot in the 1A state bracket somewhere.
“That is our immediate goal,” Duxbury said. “We have three games left and all of those are against schools we have already beaten once. This makes things a bit more challenging for us as the potential for hubris on our part becomes a real possibility.”
The Pumas last won the league crown in 2008, according to Duxbury.
It’s all about the boys joining the girls with their success on the pitch, and state championship is the goal.
Sully’s varsity swan song
Woodinville High School’s Sully Hester, 65, is essentially near the end of his swan song as the Falcons’ boys soccer coach this spring.
Technically, he is currently co-coach along with Nathan Davis, who coached Shorewood to a 20-1-0 record and Class 3A state quarterfinals last season. Davis as hired at the school as a full-time physics teacher over the summer.
Hester, who teaches art and photography classes at Woodinville, confirmed that this will be his 40th and final season as a high-school varsity coach. This is his 30th season leading the boys program at Woodinville after spending 10 years prior in the same position at fellow Northshore School District school, Inglemoor.
Hester, also Woodinville’s girls soccer coach for 21 years this fall, likely will be back as the school’s junior varsity coach in both boys and girls for the 2013-14 school year.
Hester reiterates he’s taking a step back, but not retiring from teaching or coaching just yet.
“I’m not retiring from coaching, but I’m stepping down from the head [coaching] ranks,” Hester said. “And, I think I’ll be doing the same for the girls in the fall. So, I didn’t retire.”
The Falcon boys are in need of strong finish to extend their season as they are off to a 2-6-0 start in KingCo 4A and a 2-10-0 overall mark.
Hester enjoys being around young athletes and thoroughly enjoys watching their growth. That’s why he’ll keep coaching at the JV level.
“I still love [coaching],” he said. “There’s no plan to retire at this point.”
Hester has been a fixture at the school since it opened for the 1983-84 school year. He’s been the only boys soccer coach the school has known until Davis joined forces with him this spring.
Hester took over as the girls soccer after Sean Evans stepped down prior to the 1991 season and Hester has been there ever since.
Once Hester officially steps down after this season, Davis would be one of the top candidates – presumably the top one — for the head coaching job opening in spring of 2014.
But the job technically will be open in the spring.
Snohomish (13-0-0, WesCo 4A), Lakeside (10-0-0, Metro 3A), Liberty (10-0-2, KingCo 3A/2A), Jefferson (9-0-3, SPSL 4A) and University Prep (8-0-1, Emerald City League 1A) remain as the local teams who are still unbeaten overall.
Marquee matches upcoming
Tuesday, April 23
KingCo 4A, Skyline (10-1-0) at Eastlake (4-5-3), 7:30 p.m.
KingCo 4A, Inglemoor (8-1-1) at Newport (6-3-3), 7:30 p.m.
KingCo 4A, Issaquah (7-4-1) at Redmond (10-2-0), 7:30 p.m.
SPSL 4A South Division, Federal Way (11-1-0) at Curtis (3-6-1), 7:30 p.m.
SPSL 4A North Division, Kentwood (6-2-4) at Mount Rainier (7-1-3), 7:30 p.m.
WesCo 4A North Division, Mount Vernon (4-6-2) at Snohomish (13-0-0), 7:30 p.m.
Metro League Sound Division, Ingraham (7-2-2) at Chief Sealth (9-1-2), 4 p.m.
KingCo 3A/2A, Juanita (6-3-3) at Mercer Island (6-2-4), 7:30 p.m.
Metro League Mountain Division, Eastside Catholic (4-6-0) at Lakeside (10-0-0), 4 p.m.
Seamount League, Tyee (10-3-0) at Kennedy Catholic (7-1-4) at Starfire Sports Complex, 6 p.m. (Tyee is 10-2-0 with 30 points for first place and JFK is 7-0-4 with 25 points for third place.)
SPSL 2A, Fife (8-3-1) at Orting (6-5-0), 7:30 p.m.
Wednesday, April 24
SPSL 3A, Auburn Mountainview (5-3-2) at Decatur (6-4-0), 7 p.m.
Cascade Conference, King’s (5-7-1) at Cedarcrest (12-1-0), 6 p.m.
Nisqually 1A, Cascade Christian (8-2-0) at Seattle Christian (10-1-0), 3:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 25
SPSL 4A South Division, Beamer (5-3-3) at Rogers (Puyallup) (6-3-2), 7:30 p.m.
SPSL 4A North Division, Mount Rainier (7-1-3) at Tahoma (4-4-3), 7:30 p.m.
Metro League 3A Mountain Division, Lakeside (10-0-0) at Seattle Prep (7-5-0) at Magnuson Playfield No. 6, 3:30 p.m.
Friday, April 26
KingCo 4A, Redmond (10-2-0) at Skyline (10-1-0), 7:30 p.m.
KingCo 4A, Newport (6-3-3) at Bothell (7-4-0), 7:30 p.m.
WesCo 4A North Division, Snohomish (13-0-0) at Lake Stevens (9-2-2), 7:30 p.m.
WesCo 4A South Division, Lynnwood (8-3-1) at Mariner (8-2-1) at Goddard Stadium, 7:30 p.m.
KingCo 3A/2A, Liberty (Issaquah) (10-0-2) at Mercer Island (6-2-4), 7:30 p.m.
Seamount League, Kennedy Catholic (7-1-4) at Hazen (9-1-3) at Renton Stadium, 5 p.m.
Metro League 3A, Eastside Catholic (4-6-0) at Chief Sealth (9-1-2), 4 p.m.
Cascade Conference, Cedarcrest (12-1-0) at Lakewood (8-3-2), 7 p.m.
Washington state computer rankings
Area school Lakeside (3A) tops their respective class in the Washington state computer rankings. ScoreCzar and goalWA.net have entered into a partnership for these rankings.
Locals leading the way in other classes are Seattle Christian (1A) at No. 2, Cedarcrest (2A) at No. 3, Snohomish (4A) at No. 4 and Liberty (3A) at No. 4, Burlington (2A) at No. 4, Shorewood (3A) at No. 5, Shorecrest (3A) at No. 6, University Prep (1A) at No. 6 and Federal Way (4A) at No. 7.
Link below to full rankings by classification:
National rankings picture
The second spring boys soccer rankings from National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) came out on Tuesday, April 9. Four teams from Washington state opened in the top 20 with a fifth team in the also receiving votes category. Defending Class 4A state champion Skyview of Vancouver stayed at No. 5 with Washington schools following in line – Snohomish (4A) at No. 10, Federal Way (4A) at No. 12 and Lakeside (3A) tied at No. 16. Jefferson (4A), who was No. 9 in the previous rankings, checked in among four teams also receiving votes. The next set of spring rankings is due out Tuesday, April 23. The current rankings link is below:
The NSCAA regional poll was filled with all Washington teams, from No. 1 through No. 10. Here’s the initial Region V poll for spring of 2013: