Boys’ Soccer to face familiar foe in semifinals
By M. Sharon Baker
After beating Tacoma Baptist 2-0 in the quarterfinals, the Conner Braves Boys Soccer team will face a familiar foe in the State Championship semifinals in Sumner on Friday, Nov. 19: Providence Classical Christian.
Providence knocked out rival Bear Creek School 2-0 in the other quarterfinal match in their bracket while the Braves took on the Tacoma Baptist Crusaders last Friday.
La Conner, now 17-2-0, has faced Providence three times this season, losing once and winning twice. Those two wins were Providence’s only two losses, and were arguably the Braves’ toughest games this season. Providence, which is 15-2-0, is the team that Braves’ coach Steve DeLeon had hoped La Conner would face.
“PCC has an axe to grind and knows us better,” he said. “But they are going to have to deal with our multiple threats. We will make them play our game, at our talent level and conditioning, which causes problems for other teams.”
During the Braves’ last, very physical matchup with Providence, a 2-1 Braves win, senior forward D.J. Carr’s collision with a Providence player resulted in five stitches to the back of Carr’s head.
In order to beat Providence, the Braves will have to contend with the dangerous Moisant brothers: twin junior midfielders, Andrew and Eric, and their brother sophomore forward, Caleb. The Moisants slice diagonally through even the toughest defenses, and together they racked up 58 goals and 31 assists this season.
If they make it past Providence on Friday, the Braves could face another known league opponent, Shoreline Christian, or Eastern Washington’s Riverside Christian in the championship.
In a stunning upset, Shoreline knocked out Waitsburg-Prescott, the state’s only undefeated team moving through the other quarterfinal bracket. Waitsburg-Prescott, with its 18 wins, had been the team league watchers thought would reach the final game.
Braves coach DeLeon knows what his team needs to do. “We have to play at our top level,” he said. “We can’t make any mistakes. I’m expecting my captains to lead by example, and I’m sure the younger boys will step up.”
Senior Captains Kyle McKnight, DJ Carr and Sten Mejlaender, and Junior captain Todd Hoagland did just that during the Braves’ 2-0 win over Tacoma Baptist.
The Crusaders held the Braves scoreless for the first half and well into the second. The Braves gained momentum when McKnight moved from sweeper to midfield.
Receiving a goal kick from goalie Taylor Fay, McKnight trapped the ball, carried it through the midfield, and delivered a perfect through ball to Carr, beating the last two Tacoma Baptist defenders. Carr then drove the ball by the goalie. Hoagland added the second goal with less than three minutes to play.
“The boys from La Conner can play with any of these teams,” said DeLeon. “We are so pleased to be able to go to Sumner and bring back some hardware.”
La Conner will play Providence Friday Nov. 19 at 6 p.m. at Sunset Chevrolet Stadium in Sumner. The consolidation and championship games will be held Saturday, Nov. 20 at noon and 4 p.m. respectively.
By Amylynn Richards
The girls are second in State; congratulations to the Lady Braves! The Girls’ Varsity Volleyball Team competed in State level competition for the fifteenth year running. The girls spent the weekend in Yakima, competing on Friday and Saturday at the Sun Dome. Last year, the 2009 team earned fourth place in State.
There were some familiar advisories in this year’s competition, but Reardan High of Spokane, which did not make it past the first round in 2009, ended La Conner’s bid for State Champ.
On Friday, Nov. 12, La Conner beat last year’s State second place team Northwest Christian in a five set battle: 26-24; 17-25; 16-25; 25-20; and 25-7.
Later that same day, La Conner destroyed its traditional State nemesis Toutle Lake in three for the quarterfinal win in five: 25-13; 25-14; and 25-9.
The girls got a rest before taking on Colfax high on Saturday, Nov. 12 for the semi-final match. La Conner beat the 2009 State Champions, Colfax, in five: 25-22; 28-26; 25-21; 25-27; and 15-9. “This is the first time in 8 years that Colfax has lost at State. They were on a twenty-six match winning streak at the state tournament,” says Coach Suzanne Marble, “The last time Colfax didn't win state was back in 2002 when La Conner knocked them off in the semi finals and then we went on to win our first ever state tournament!”
Reardan won the championship game in five sets. Reardan won the first two sets, but the Braves forced a fifth set with a remarkable comeback with the win in the third and fourth sets. The State Championship came down to a very close fifth set: 25-18; 25-21; 19-25; 11-25; 15-11.
“Being down two set to none and fighting back to go five was truly remarkable,” Marble said, “These young ladies fought for two days and played outstanding volleyball; I am so proud of each and every one of them!”
State Championship team highlights: Candice Pedroza had 134 assists and 74 digs. “She did a nice job of leading our team this weekend,” Marble added; Lauren McClung had 55 kills 15 blocks and 93 digs; Emily Anderson had 52 kills and 21 blocks; Priscilla Ponce-Venegas had 53 kills, 22 aces and 72 digs, “she was outstanding serving and did a great job offensively for us,” Marble said; Kelley McClung “played really consistent,” and was 80 for 83 serving with 7 aces and 25 assists; Katie McKnight “went in as a freshman in the match against Rearden and was a real spark for us,” Marble said. McKnight had 7 kills and 3 aces.
Coach Marble made a point to thank all of the fans who make the trek to Yakima to cheer on the team, and her “amazing group of young ladies for yet another fantastic year.”
The boys move on to the state semi-finals, thanks to a 2-0 quarter-final win over Tacoma Baptist on Friday, Nov. 12 on Mount Vernon high school turf. “We are so happy to be going to Sumner,” says Coach Steve DeLeon.
The score was 0-0 at halftime. DJ Carr scored for the Braves in the seventieth minute, and Todd Hoagland scored in the seventy-seventh. Taylor Fay provided the shutout for La Conner. “He had some great saves and survived being slide-tackled late in the game,” noted DeLeon.
The boys will compete for the State Semifinals against Providence Classical Christian at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 19 at the Sunset Chevrolet Stadium in Sumner.
Providence Christian is the 1B Northwest Champion, La Conner is the 2B champ. La Conner has scored more wins and more goals over the regular season, but that does not mean that it will be an easy win for the Braves.
The winner will play either Shoreline Christian or Riverside Christian for the State Championship. DeLeon said the team likes that the Braves have beaten Shoreline Christian and Providence Christian this season; “We know that the stakes are higher now, we will not take anyone lightly, but we have a lot of confidence in our ability to contend with anyone in the final four.”
The girls ended their bit for state after a 0-1defeat to Evergreen Lutheran on Friday, Nov. 12 at Mount Vernon high school. “It was a very hard loss for the team to take,” Coach Amy Freeto said. “We really controlled most of the game. We have had awful luck this season in defending corner kicks and missing lots of chances to score, so it is really no surprise that the game ended as it did. It was a heart-breaker.”
Freeto says the team mood post-tournament is “relatively good. The girls are very proud of the stellar season that they had; they know that they did many great things. They won many big games, and came together in a way that no team has before. Assistant Coach Tom Jenson and I are both so very proud of the girls and all that they accomplished this year.”