This year, it’s just a better feeling overall for the Hazen High School boys soccer team.
Sure, they captured the last year’s Seamount League regular-season title, but it was through a new complicated points system. So, it felt a touch hollow as they didn’t have the best record.
This year, the Highlanders (11-1-3 overall, 11-0-2 league) left no doubt. They hold a 35-28 points lead over second-place Kennedy (8-2-4, 8-1-4) with one round of games left.
Hazen locked up the regular-season Seamount title with last Friday’s 1-0 win over perennial league power Kennedy Catholic. The Highlanders complete the league slate on Tuesday against Tyee (10-4-0, 9-3-0) at 5:30 p.m. at Highline Stadium.
“This is the first time in school history we’ve won the league back-to-back,” said Hazen coach Ken Matthews. “With our league being a 3A/2A league, there was a convoluted points system that allowed us to win. You got more points for beating a 3A school than a 2A school.
“It’s like I told one of the other coaches, last year I felt like we got gifted the title and this year, we earned it. This year, it was complete.”
Hazen secured just its third regular-season Seamount crown to go with top finishes in 2007 and 2012. Of three teams in school history to make state, the only team to win a state match was the 2007 squad, which won the 3A title with a 2-1 victory over Camas.
The 2005 and 2012 teams were the only other state qualifiers. The 2013 squad is two wins from qualifying for a state berth.
“We’ve tried to build expectations for the guys and we’ve tried to get more commitment,” Matthews said. “Since I took over two and half seasons ago, we changed the style of play from more of a defensive team to an attacking team. It took them a while to get used to that.”
Hazen fell to eventual 3A state champion Bainbridge 5-0 in last year’s first round of state.
“I told the guys, the problem is we didn’t know what to expect at state, because none of these guys have been before,” Matthews said. “We graduated a few seniors from last year, but we had some talent returning. We kind of walked out there this year and the group was together.”
The high-powered Highlanders, who are on a 14-match unbeaten streak, feature one of the most energetic and fun players to watch in forward Sam Bunnell.
Bunnell, who will play at NCAA Division III Southern Virginia University, enters Tuesday’s match with 22 goals and 11 assists to lead the team, which has outscored foes 60-9.
“He’s a bright kid and he’s a hard worker,” Matthews said. “The thing you see with Sam is that he makes the run every time. If there’s a chance to make 100 runs, he’ll make all 100 of them whereas someone else might make 70.
“He’s just non-stop hard work. He’s always making himself available. He’s the guy who sets the tone for the way we play.”
Hazen hasn’t lost a match since falling 3-0 in its season opener to Interlake on March 11. They have had eight shutouts from goalkeepers Freddy Jeronimo (six) and Jamie Martinez (two).
Other key components in Hazen’s success in 2013 are senior central midfielder Devin Sando, senior outside defender Angad Singh, junior Kyle Bunnell (brother of Sam) and freshman outside midfielder Reyes Garcia.
Sando tallied Friday’s game-winning goal on an assist from Garcia with just 1 minute, 32 seconds from the end of regulation in the 1-0 win over JFK. Jeronimo recorded the shutout.
“We like to call him ‘Wayne’ as in Wayne Rooney, because he always fancied himself as a forward,” Matthews said. “We moved him to the middle at the end of last year. Once we moved him the middle, he’s just blossomed. He’s taken things to another level. He’s not real fast, but he’s phenomenal. He can pass the ball on a penny.”
Said Matthews of Garcia: “He’s going to be something else over these four years. He has a great sense for the game.”
After the Highlanders close out Seamount play on Tuesday, they open sub-district play against the 3A South Puget Sound League’s No. 2 seed (right now it’s Auburn Mountainview) on Wednesday, May 8 at Renton Stadium at 7 p.m.
The Highlanders are hoping this has the feel of the school’s 2007 state-championship run under then coach Ritch Gouk, whom Matthews took over for midway through the 2011 season. The squad has nine seniors, seven of whom start.
“The guys have just come together and we play a very entertaining style of soccer,” said Matthews, who took over Hazen’s girls program in 2009. “We’re passing and we’re moving.”
The Highlanders are moving on up.
Tough week for Lions; roar dulled?
The Lakeside boys soccer team entered last week at 10-0-0, but exited with a pair of tough losses.
The Lions, now 10-2-0 overall and 6-2-0 with 18 points in Metro League play, still remains tied atop the Mountain Division with Bainbridge.
Lakeside fell 1-0 at home to Eastside Catholic last Tuesday and then dropped a 2-1 decision at Seattle Prep on Thursday.
Snohomish removed from ranks of unbeaten
The Snohomish boys soccer team took a 13-0-0 overall record into last week’s action, but came away 14-1-0.
The Panthers dropped a 3-0 decision to Mount Vernon last Tuesday before bouncing back with a 2-1 overtime win at Lake Stevens last Friday. Tyler Mayer provided the game-winning goal in the 89th minute.
Snohomish stills leads the WesCo 4A North Division with 12-1-0 mark with 36 points, ahead of Lake Stevens’ 9-3-0 and 27 points. The Panthers, with one league match left at home on Wednesday against Arlington, have already clinched the division title.
Liberty (11-0-3, KingCo 3A/2A), Jefferson (11-0-3, SPSL 4A) and University Prep (9-0-2, Emerald City League 1A) remain as the local teams who are still unbeaten overall.
Marquee matches upcoming
Tuesday, April 30
KingCo 4A, Bothell (9-4-0) at Inglemoor (10-1-1), 7:30 p.m.
KingCo 4A, Skyline (12-1-0) at Issaquah (8-5-1), 7:30 p.m.
SPSL 4A North Division, Mount Rainier (10-1-3) at Kentridge (4-6-4) (French Field), 7:30 p.m.
KingCo 3A/2A, Bellevue (5-8-1) at Liberty (Issaquah) (11-0-3), 7:30 p.m.
KingCo 3A/2A, Mercer Island (7-2-5) at Mount Si (10-3-1), 7:30 p.m.
Seamount League 3A, Hazen (11-1-3) at Tyee (10-4-0) (Highline Stadium), 5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, May 1
WesCo 4A South Division, Kamiak (7-7-0) at Mariner (10-2-1) (Goddard Stadium), 7:30 p.m.
Metro League 3A Mountain Division, Bainbridge (7-3-0) at Lakeside (10-2-0), 4 p.m. (Regular-season finale likely to decide the Mountain crown as both teams enter the week with 6-2-0 records with two matches this week.)
Metro League 3A Sound Division, Chief Sealth (10-1-3) at Nathan Hale (5-6-0), 4 p.m.
SPSL 3A, Peninsula (4-8-1) at Bonney Lake (11-4-0), 7 p.m.
WesCo 3A South Division, Shorewood (11-1-0) at Meadowdale (4-8-0) (Edmonds Stadium), 7:30 p.m.
WesCo 3A North Division, Marysville-Getchell (5-8-1) at Stanwood (8-3-2), 7:30 p.m.
SPSL 2A, Franklin Pierce (10-2-0) at Clover Park (5-9-0), 7 p.m.
Thursday, May 2
KingCo 3A/2A, Liberty (11-0-3) at Mount Si (10-3-1), 7:30 p.m.
Friday, May 3
SPSL 4A North Division, Mount Rainier (10-1-3) at Jefferson (11-0-3) (Federal Way Stadium), 3:30 p.m. (Likely to decide the SPSL North title).
SPSL 4A North Division, Auburn Riverside (6-5-3) at Kentwood (6-4-4) (French Field), 5:30 p.m.
SPSL 3A, Bonney Lake (11-4-0) at Enumclaw (8-6-0), 7 p.m.
SPSL 2A, Fife (8-4-1) at Sumner (10-3-0), 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 Bonney Lake (3A) at No. 1, Cedarcrest (2A) at No. 2 and Seattle Christian (1A) at No. 3. Also garnered lofty status are Jefferson (4A) at No. 3, Liberty (3A) at No. 2, Lakeside (3A) at No. 3, Chief Sealth (3A) at No. 4, Shorewood (3A) at No. 5, Hazen (3A) at No. 6, Bainbridge (3A) at No. 7, Shorecrest (3A) at No. 8, Archbishop Murphy (2A) at No. 5 and Skyline (4A) at No 6.
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 23. Four teams from Washington state appear in the top 20. Snohomish in Class 4A leads Washington schools at No. 4, Skyline (4A) checks in at No. 10, Federal Way (4A) at No. 14 and Lakeside (3A) at No. 18. The next set of spring rankings is due out Tuesday, May 14. 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 April 23 Region V poll for spring of 2013: