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Central Kitsap, Bremerton soccer teams kick off new season
The 2010 boys soccer season kicked off Monday, with area teams beginning their non-league schedule.
Here is a look ahead to the spring season:
Olympic prepares to rebuild
One game into the young season, Olympic High School coach Steve Haggerty is calling it a rebuilding year.
After struggling to a 3-12-1 record in 2009, Haggerty enters his 30th season at Olympic with a 20-man roster that includes seven returning players and five starters.
Still, Haggerty said, reaching the playoffs is a realistic goal.
“In rebuilding years, you tend to set your goal low,” he said. “But our goal is to improve our win total from last year and possibly grab a playoff spot.”
To accomplish that feat, the Trojans will need to create more scoring opportunities than they did Monday in a season-opening 2-0 loss to Central Kitsap High School at Silverdale Stadium.
The Cougars controlled possession and were on the attack much of the game, while Olympic freshman goalkeeper Harry Hanson weathered an onslaught of shots.
Hanson will be the team’s primary goalie, replacing Branden Yeik and Thomas Bryan. Yeik is not on the team this season, and Haggerty moved Bryan to midfield to give the team stability in the middle-third of the field.
“Harry did a nice job,” Haggerty said. “He just needs to get used to playing at the varsity level.”
The new goalie must learn quickly. The Trojans’ non-league schedule includes matches against powers Liberty, Bellarmine, Shelton and Auburn Mountainview high schools, then the team embarks on league play.
There are nine upperclassmen on the team, but only four of them — Matt Hoyt, Paul Brumm, Jeff LaGrandeur and Bryan — have significant varsity experience.
Add four freshmen and two sophomores to that mix, and the Trojans have plenty of fresh faces.
“We’re pretty much all new,” Haggerty said. “We have a lot of seniors, but they aren’t very long on experience.”
Haggerty believes sophomore forward Riley Dreany has the talent to emerge as a scoring threat, and he expects LaGrandeur to anchor the defense.
Fellow seniors Curtis Reeve and Elias Manzur Carrera join LaGrandeur on the back line, which Haggerty said needs to improve before league play begins.
“We need to get tighter back there,” he said.
All eyes on Bremerton’s Olson
With six talented sophomores joining the league’s leading scorer, the Bremerton High School boys soccer team has the tools to reach the state tournament.
The Knights enter the 2010 season with a roster blended with youth and experience, led by the Olympic League’s most prolific scorer in senior Matt Olson, a first-teamer who finished the 2009 season with 23 goals and 11 assists.
Much of the talent around him will come from a strong sophomore class.
“We have a good mix,” coach Randy Lund said.
Among those sophomores are midfielders Alex Correll and Riley Danskin, defenders Mikel Gregory and Jonathan Ryan, forward Nick Riders and second-string goalkeeper Douglas Erickson.
Riders was the team’s second-leading scorer last season. A forward who has the ability to score as well as pass, Riders has been offered positions on two local academy teams as well.
“He’s going to be one to watch over the next few seasons,” Lund said.
Senior midfielder Anthony Toombes returns after a strong 2009 and will anchor the middle-third of the field for the Knights. He, too, should be in the goal-scoring equation along with Olson and Riders.
Olson, meanwhile, is ready to build upon what was a breakout season last year.
The soft-spoken forward rebounded from an injury-plagued 2008 season to lead the team in both goals and assists. Now he understands opponents will be preparing to defend against him, but he believes he can use that to his advantage and create opportunities for his teammates.
“It’s pretty exciting to know that I’m a target,” he said.
Olson will attend Saint Martin’s College in Lacey next season and plans to walk on to the soccer team. He scored one of the Knights’ two goals in a season-opening 2-2 tie against Shelton High School on Monday. He tied the game on a successful penalty kick in the 74th minute after he was tripped in the penalty box.
“Matt speaks for himself,” Lund said. “He just plays at a really high level.”
Ryne Riders is the team’s starting goalkeeper, though he sat out practice Tuesday and was temporarily replaced by Erickson, who also plays midfield. Eli Chastain, a senior, anchors the defense.
Lund is known for setting the bar high, something he established when he took over three years ago, and that is no different this season. He believes the team can advance to the state tournament. Last year they lost in the first round of districts.
“My goal is to go to state,” Lund said. “I told them, ‘Let’s bring it up a notch.’”
Central Kitsap eyes postseason, again
After advancing to the state playoffs a year ago, expectations are high at Central Kitsap High School.
The Cougars defeated Olympic 2-0 to open the season Monday, but coach Christopher Floro said the team has work to do before Narrows League play begins.
“All around, it was a pretty good performance,” he said. “But we need to pick it up on defense a little bit.”
Senior captain Niles Stirrett scored the team’s first goal and returns after a 2009 season in which he scored seven goals to go with five assists, earning second team all-league status.
The versatile midfielder has the ability to create scoring opportunities for himself and others, and he will receive plenty of help from sophomore tandem Miles Nilsen and Jacob Beck.
Nilsen and Beck were recently selected to the 18-member Seattle Sounders Academy Team, emerging from a pool of 180 players.
“It’s pretty exciting for two guys on this side of the water to make that team,” Floro said. “It’s an excellent achievement for them.”
If the team has a weak area, it’s on defense.
The Cougars lost captain midfielder Adam Cronin, a solid defender who also led the team in scoring, as well as top defenders Pat Triggs and Matt Kunish.
Floro said those departures deflated the team’s confidence on defense, something it continues to rebuild. As the season moves forward, Floro said, the defenders should continue to improve.
Kevin Birang moves from the backup goalkeeper position into the starting role.
“We still have some work to do to get to where I think we should be based on the talent we have,” he said.
Check back later for a report on Klahowya Secondary School.