Boys Soccer takes third in state
By M. Sharon Baker
For the second straight year, the La Conner Braves Boys’ Varsity Soccer Team placed third in the state championships, this time beating Riverside Christian 1-0 on Nov. 20 in the consolation game held in Sumner.
The win was bittersweet as it came on the heels of a heartbreaking semifinal 2-0 loss to Providence Classical Christian in a game many thought should have been the championship matchup.
“I am proud that the boys were able to come back from the heartbreaker game,” on Friday, said La Conner coach Steve De Leon. “They are not used to not having an early goal scored on them, and I am glad they were able to stick with it.”
The 1-0 win was a nice finish to the 18-3 season, especially for state leading goal scorer David Carr who contributed the winning goal – his 36th of the season - very late in the second half.
“DJ is Mr. Clutch,” said senior captain Kyle McKnight after the Riverside game. “I can’t tell you how I felt when he hit the back of the net.” Added Carr, “Today we had a little bit of luck. We controlled the ball the ball the whole game and were finally able to capitalize.”
The consolation match with Riverside was very physical, dominated early by La Conner. Both teams were unable to put the ball in the net during the first half thanks to excellent goal keeping by La Conner’s Taylor Fay and Riverside’s Michael Stein. The teams traded numerous fouls as the action moved from end to end for most of the first and second halves.
With less than three minutes left, Carr capitalized on a mistake by Riverside’s goalie for the win. A Riverside defender decided to let a ball pass by him through the box to Stein, who wasn’t prepared for the ball. Stein dove for the ball but tipped it forward - right to Carr who spun around and drove the ball straight into the open net.
It was a bittersweet ending to the season for seniors Carr, McKnight, and Sten Mejlaender, a trio of players that have dominated the 2B league for the past two seasons, and for Trenton Swigert, all playing their last games for La Conner. Senior Steven Bell, who was injured earlier in the season, watched from the sideline.
La Conner went into the Saturday consolation round after Friday’s game, when Providence’s Caleb Moisant scored in the sixth minute of the game off a rebound shot by his brother Eric to give Providence the early lead.
About 18 minutes later, Providence added a second goal when the ball was tipped by a La Conner defender past goalie Taylor Fay and into the net.
The Braves weren’t able to achieve numbers up with their two-man offense, nor were they able to control the midfield like they typically do, partly because McKnight was playing sweeper for most of the game.
“Providence is our biggest rival, this year and last, and we knew they were going to be the team to beat,” said McKnight. “It was a tough loss. Our team played very hard and I’m proud of how we held ourselves together and bounced back.”
“They played our game better than we did,” added Mejlaender.
Providence coach Nathan Morris, who went on to win the state championship, said La Conner had some tough luck in the beginning of the hard fought game. “We did a great job in the middle with good defense and that’s what kept us in the game,” Morris said. “La Conner is a great team; I think this was the championship game, and we enjoyed playing them.”
“Yesterday was a tough day,” said McKnight on Saturday. “To us, the Providence game was the championship. They are a great team. I love that we regained our focus against Riverside, but it wasn’t the place I really wanted to be in.”
By Amylynn Richards
COACHES OF THE YEAR
The Braves soccer teams rocked the All-League teams this year: Boys’ coach Steve DeLeon and girls’ coach Amy Freeto were both elected Coach of the Year by their peers in the Northwest 1A/2B league.
PLAYERS OF THE YEAR
La Conner high not only has the best coaches, but the best athletes in the league.
The Most Valuable Player for boys and girls soccer are La Conner Braves’ Kyle McKnight, who was elected Co-Player of the year; he shares the title with Shoreline Christian’s Travis Hudson; and Sydney Hartwick was chosen as the league’s Player of the Year.
“La Conner had more girls on the First Team than any other team in the league, and more than any other season,” Coach Amy Freeto said, “we all did very well.”
The boys’ team also had more representatives to the First Team than any other school in the league.
The 2010 Boys’ First Team Braves are: Sten Mejlaender, defender; Tanner Cyr, defender; Todd Hoagland, midfield; Kory Duran, forward; David Carr, forward; and Kyle McKnight forward.
Second Team All League honors went to goalie Tanner Fay and midfielder Bobby Poulton.
Making the girl’s First Team All League was: Sammie Messman, defender; Sydney Hartwick, midfielder; Ashlyn Reinstra, midfielder; Kelsey Crawford, forward; and Nikki Finley, forward.
Second Team All League honors went to midfielder Maddie Cavanaugh.
Honorable mentions were awarded to defenders Bailey Cunningham and Tess Bruland.
The Braves ended the season as third in the State. The Braves, who are the 2B league champions, traveled to Sumner to take on the 1A league champs, Providence Classical Christian high school on Saturday, Nov. 20 in Sumner.
Providence won the game 2-0, and then went on to become the 2010 1A/2B State Champs.
The Braves won the consolation round against Riverside Christian 1-0. Coach DeLeon said, “It shows a lot about our conviction to be able to come back from a heart breaking loss and grind out a win.”
The game was a cliff-hanger; neither team had scored, until about two minutes before the clock stopped, David Carr scored the winning goal off of Fortino Partida.
Teacher Laura Baker-Skelton is the new girls’ wrestling coach; and Amanda Voorhees is the new assistant girls’ basketball coach.