This is the fourth installment The “Full 80” prep boys soccer blog for the spring of 2014. Here’s a look at Issaquah’s rise from mediocrity in KingCo 4A under new coach, marquee matches and rankings.
Issaquah makes a move upward in KingCo 4A
They were muddled in the middle.
That was the story of the Issaquah High School boys soccer team a year ago.
Turn the page to 2014, and the Eagles are anything but a middling team, at least, so far.
Under the direction of first-year varsity coach Kyle Tatro, Issaquah is trending upward in the KingCo 4A Conference standings. The Eagles are leading the conference at 5-0-0 and are off to an unbeaten 7-0-1 start overall.
“I think our season primarily has a lot to do with team chemistry,” said Tatro, who took over when Tom Bunnell resigned in the offseason. “This is a good group of boys to come into and we have a good junior class and the senior class is good, tight-knit group.
“We work hard on defense and we’ve been fortunate to be on the right side of the score line in a couple of games.”
Issaquah has already matched last season’s conference total in half season in 2014. The Eagles were 5-5-0 and tied for fourth with 15 points in conference play and finished 9-7-1 overall in 2013 after falling to Roosevelt in a loser-out KingCo 4A tournament match.
Four starters – Ryan Higgins, Josh Zhou, Ben Corman and Jack Figg – are back from last season. But mainly there’s been improvement and an upgrade in production, which has the Eagles soaring with a 15-3 goals advantage in 2014.
Tatro’s touch has added the right blend so far.
“It’s been a great transition for me to head coach, and being able to help out on the technical aspects of players’ games at training,” said Tatro, who spent six seasons as an assistant coach with the Issaquah program and was a standout defender at Newport. “I’ve stepped in and put my twist on formations and things, has been a joy. Working with these players has been great.
“They are smart and hard-working players and that’s makes it easier.”
The hot starts of senior midfielders Higgins (5 goals, 1 assist) and Alex Kane and junior midfielder Conner Hughes (4 assists) has been key. The 6-foot-2 Higgins has signed to play at Seattle Pacific University next fall.
“Ryan Higgins is a very smart, physical, very technically gifted player and he’s having a great year for us,” Tatro said.
A tougher defensive mindset has led to five shutouts in eight outings as Corman and Figg help anchor the back line along with new starting goalkeeper Saif Kerawala, a 6-3 junior.
Kerawala has been part of five shutouts for the Eagles.
“A lot of players have, not surprised me, but shown better than I thought they would,” Tatro said of the turnaround this season. “I knew they were talented players and that the whole squad was capable of achieving what they have so far.
“They are making smart plays and hustle plays on both sides of the ball. This is a special team, and I’ve told them that from the beginning.”
Tatro, a 2004 graduate of Newport, knows what it takes to win a state title as he helped the Knights to a 3A state crown as a junior in 2003. He recognizes it’s a growth process.
“Right now, we’re a really strong defensive team and our score line has been kind of low,” Tatro said. “We have a lot of 1-0 and 2-1 games, so certainly we can get better on the offensive side of the game.
“We are looking to get a little bit better as the road goes along. Hopefully, we can get into the state playoffs and then anything can happen there. That’s what we’re aiming for.”
Lions still roaring despite loss of two key players
Mark Szabo could be lamenting and asking “what-if” in regards to two players not with the Lakeside boys soccer team in 2014.
Sophomore defender Quentin Chi decided to play for the Sounders Academy and senior forward Seyi Adekoya, a UCLA commit, is serving as a team manager after the Bruins advised against Adekoya playing for his high-school team.
Instead, Szabo, the Lions’ head coach, is very happy about who he does have on his team and their development.
“It’s nice for the boys to build up some confidence in themselves,” said Szabo, whose team is off to a 7-1-0 start overall and a No. 6 ranking among Class 3A schools. “It’s a promising start, but it’s obviously very early in the season.”
The Lions have a strong hold on the Metro League Mountain Division with a 5-0-0 record and 15 points. Bishop Blanchet sits second in the Mountain a 3-3-1 with 10 points.
In all eight matches, Lakeside has outscored foes 22-1 with seven shutouts. In Metro matches, the Lions have a 19-0 goals advantage and five shutout wins.
A big key is the Lions returning three defenders – seniors Arthur McCray and Trevor Peterson and junior Matt Dayton – and junior goalkeeper Wallis Lapsley from last year’s 14-4-0 squad. Six starters return all together.
“We have a solid defense and Wallis is a quality goalkeeper,” Szabo said. “We have guys in front of him that play well together. It’s nice to have a good number of players back who have worked together before. It’s a good foundation.
“Overall, we have some kids who can fill in the gaps, too.”
Lapsley registered a 0.77 goals-against average and nine shutouts as a sophomore.
Offensively, Lakeside doesn’t lack punch. Senior midfielder Gaby Joseph leads the way with 12 points on five goals and two assists. Next in line on the attack are sophomore forward Sharif Kombo (4 goals, 2 assists), freshman midfielder Paul Rothrock (3 goals, 3 assists) and sophomore midfielder Evan Johnson (2 goals, 3 assists).
The Lions are the two-time defending Metro League tournament champions and appear to be a strong contender again.
“We work hard from the front to the back as a team,” Szabo said. “We do some good things as a team. It’s nice to have guys with experience at certain levels [like Metro championship matches]. Each year, we also get a great group of kids coming in.”
Szabo is hoping the Lions can get to state and move past the first round after two consecutive first-round bowouts in 2012 and 2013.
“As far as experience goes, you know we’ve not done so well, even though we’ve won two Metro titles in a row, we’ve not really achieved what we wanted to at state either,” Szabo said. “We need to push beyond that and get to the next level, so we can start achieving something a little bit bigger. That’s what we are striving for this year. We want to hard and keep things simple.
“We are going to assess ourselves on what we think we should do or what we think we should do, and see where that takes it.”
The Lions lone loss this season was a 1-0 decision to Shorecrest at home on March 22.
So far, the Mountain Division of Metro is theirs to lose. Then, there will be another mountain to climb at state and a hopeful ascent toward the school’s first state title in boys soccer.
The Lions have finished second at state three times, finishing as the runner-up in 1989 in 4A (then AAA), 2000 in 3A and 2006 in 3A.
Skyline boys soccer has banner week
The Skyline High School boys soccer team won a pair of 1-0 matches last week against state-qualifying teams from 2013.
The Spartans beat Roosevelt 1-0 on April 7 and Inglemoor 1-0 on April 9 in KingCo 4A action. The wins put the Spartans at 4-0-1 and in second in the conference race and 7-0-3 overall.
Alex Appel recorded both shutouts in goal and Armeen Badri scored in the 53rd minute against Roosevelt and assisted on Nihar Baxi’s score against Inglemoor in the 12th minute.
ScoreCzar.org gives its unique twist on rankings
Here’s the link to the latest 2014 ranking for boys soccer by ww.scoreczar.org:
Marquee matches upcoming
Monday, April 14
KingCo 4A: Inglemoor at Issaquah; Ballard at Redmond; Bothell at Skyline, all 7:30 p.m.
KingCo 3A/2A: Interlake at Liberty (Issaquah), Juanita at Mount Si; Mercer Island at Lake Washington, all 7:30 p.m.
3A Metro League: Bainbridge at Eastside Catholic, 3:30 p.m.
SPSL 3A: Bonney Lake at Lakes, 7 p.m.
Cascade Conference: Sultan at Archbishop Murphy, 6 p.m.
1A Nisqually League: Bellevue Christian at Cedar Park Christian (Bothell), 5 p.m.
Tuesday, April 15
SPSL 4A South: Federal Way at Graham-Kapowsin, 4 p.m.; Puyallup at Emerald Ridge, Curtis at Rogers (Puyallup) at Sparks Stadium, both 7:30 p.m.
SPSL 4A North: Auburn Riverside at Mount Rainier; Auburn at Tahoma, both 7:30 p.m.
WesCo 4A: Jackson at Arlington, 7 p.m.; Lake Stevens at Mariner; Snohomish at Lynnwood, both 7:30 p.m.
Seamount League: Hazen at Tyee, 5 p.m.
WesCo 3A: Glacier Peak at Marysville-Pilchuck; Shorecrest at Oak Harbor; Marysville Getchell at Shorewood; Mountlake Terrace at Stanwood, all 7:30 p.m.
SPSL 2A: White River at Franklin Pierce, 7 p.m.
Wednesday, April 16
KingCo 4A: Garfield at Issaquah; Bothell at Redmond; Roosevelt at Woodinville, all 7:30 p.m.
KingCo 3A/2A: Bellevue at Lake Washington; Mount Si at Interlake; Liberty (Issaquah) at Juanita; Sammamish at Mercer Island, all 7:30 p.m.
3A Metro League: Seattle Prep at Bainbridge, 7 p.m.
SPSL 3A: Peninsula at Bonney Lake; Enumclaw at Decatur at Federal Way Stadium, both 7 p.m.
Cascade Conference: Lakewood at Archbishop Murphy, 6 p.m.; South Whidbey at King’s, 7 p.m.
Emerald City League: Seattle Academy at Bush, 3:30 p.m.
1A Nisqually League: Seattle Christian at Bellevue Christian at Newport Hills Field, 4 p.m.; Charles Wright at Cedar Park Christian (Bothell), 5:15 p.m.
Thursday, April 17
WesCo 4A: Kamiak at Snohomish, 7:30 p.m.
Seamount League: Highline at Kennedy Catholic, 6 p.m.
Friday, April 18
SPSL 4A North: Tahoma at Jefferson, 5:30 p.m.; Kentwood at Auburn Riverside, 7:30 p.m.
SPSL South: Federal Way at Beamer at Federal Way Stadium, 7:30 p.m.
WesCo 4A: Edmonds-Woodway at Arlington, 7 p.m.; Lynnwood at Lake Stevens; Mariner at Mount Vernon, both 7:30 p.m.
KingCo 3A/2A: Sammamish at Bellevue, 7:30 p.m.
Seamount League: Foster at Lindbergh; Renton at Tyee, both 7:30 p.m.
WesCo 3A: Glacier Peak at Marysville Getchell, 7 p.m.; Shorewood at Everett; Stanwood at Meadowdale; Oak Harbor at Mountlake Terrace; Marysville-Pilchuck at Shorecrest, all 7:30 p.m.
SPSL 2A: Fife at Sumner, 7 p.m.
Emerald City League: Overlake at Seattle Academy at Starfire Sports Complex, 5 p.m.
Nisqually League: Cedar Park Christian (Bothell) at Seattle Christian at Valley Ridge Park, 3:30 p.m.
Nonleague: Bonney Lake at Stadium, 7:15 p.m.
Saturday, April 19
Nonleague: Chief Sealth at Roosevelt, Noon
National rankings picture
The second spring boys soccer rankings from National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) came out on Tuesday, April 8. The next set of rankings is due Tuesday, April 22. Three teams from Washington state were ranked in the top 20 were in the second set of rankings for the spring of 2014. Class 4A Camas checks in at No. 9, Skyview of Vancouver at No. 10 and Skyline at No. 20.
The NSCAA regional poll was filled with all Washington teams, from No. 1 through No. 10. Here’s the second Region V poll for spring of 2014 (also pasted below) on Tuesday, April 8:
2014 SEATTLE TIMES STATE BOYS SOCCER RANKINGS
Here are The Seattle Times rankings for Class 4A, 3A and 2A for Week 4 of the 2014 season (this year’s record in parentheses):
Week 4 rankings – 4A, 3A, 2A
1, Camas (6-0-2)
2, Skyview (Vancouver) (7-0-1)
3, Kentwood (6-0-2)
4, Union (Vancouver) (7-1-0)
5, Skyline (7-0-3)
6, Issaquah (7-0-1)
7, Ferris (Spokane) (8-0-0)
8, Davis (Yakima) (7-0-1)
9, Jefferson (6-1-1)
10, Federal Way (5-2-1)
On the bubble: Inglemoor (6-3-0), Snohomish (7-1-0), Ballard (6-2-0), Central Valley (Spokane) (6-1-0), Puyallup (6-1-1), Kentridge (3-2-3), Rogers (Puyallup) (5-0-3), Kamiak (6-3-0), Mariner (4-1-2), Pasco (6-4-0), Beamer (3-2-2), Lake Stevens (5-2-2), Gig Harbor (7-1-0), Eisenhower (Yakima) (4-3-1), Curtis (4-1-3).
1, Bonney Lake (6-1-0)
2, Glacier Peak (6-0-1)
3, Sunnyside (8-0-0)
4, Kennewick (9-1-0)
5, Liberty (Issaquah) (7-0-2)
6, Lakeside (7-1-0)
7, Hanford (7-1-0)
8, Mount Spokane (5-1-0)
9, Mount Si (6-1-2)
10, Shelton (5-1-0)
On the bubble: Mercer Island (4-2-3) , Shorecrest (6-2-0), Shorewood (4-2-2), Oak Harbor (4-2-1), Stanwood (4-3-1), Interlake (6-3-0), Hazen (4-2-2), Kennedy Catholic (5-1-2), Tyee (2-1-3), Lakes (5-0-0), Auburn Mountainview (2-1-1), Nathan Hale (5-1-3), Ingraham (5-2-4), Chief Sealth (5-2-1), Bainbridge (5-1-0).
1, Cheney (7-1-1)
2, Archbishop Murphy (7-0-1)
3, Sedro-Woolley (7-0-1)
4, Bellingham (5-0-4)
5, North Kitsap (7-0-0)
6, Fife (6-0-0)
7, Capital (8-0-0)
8, Hockinson (6-1-0)
9, Ellensburg (5-1-0)
10, Aberdeen (6-2-0)
On the bubble: Pullman (7-2-0), Ridgefield (3-2-1), Cedarcrest (5-3-0), Squalicum (6-0-2), Anacortes (6-1-1), Kingston (7-1-0), Sequim (5-2-0), Franklin Pierce (2-3-1), Lake Washington (4-4-1), Foster (5-1-1) Othello (7-1-0).