Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Weekly Braves sports capsule, Sept. 28, 2011

Photo by Amylynn Richards
La Conner Braves’ Skylar Krueger looks for an opening to run the ball through a tangle of players during Friday’s football game against Bellevue Christian. The Braves won 39-24. 

Photo by Amylynn Richards
La Conner Braves’ Nikki Finley outsmarted her Concrete Lion opponents last week when she jumped over the ball and kept going as two Lions rushed in to squeeze her out during the girls’ soccer match. The Braves won 8-0.

Photo by Kirsten Morse
La Conner Youth Soccer girls’ team member Addison Reinstra during the Ninja Braves Saturday game with Stanwood Cedarhome Elementary on Saturday.  

... from Braves Raves

By Amylynn Richards


The boys’ soccer team went to Lopez Island to take on the 1A League Lopez Lobos Tuesday, Sept. 20. The Braves won 11-2. Todd Hoagland scored a whopping eight goals during the game in minutes 15, 50, 55, 57, 68, 69, 70, and 75, and was honored as the “man of the match.” Tyler Baker scored in the 28th minute, and provided two assists, and Jamall James scored in the 78th minute and provided one assist.

Coach Steve DeLeon said in the first half, the Lobos gave the Braves “a bit of trouble…they scored first, and the halftime score was 2-1. After halftime talk, where everyone realized that the Braves needed to step things up, the floodgates opened.”

DeLeon made note of Hoagland’s amazing performance, but also wanted to recognize Jamall James and Tyler Baker for their impressive game.

The team played again on Thursday, Sept., 22 at home. The Braves beat the Orcas Island Vikings 5-1. “Todd Hoagland was again the catalyst,” DeLeon said. “His two goals and two assists helped the Braves cruise past the Vikings.”

Hoagland wasn’t the only outstanding athlete. “Tanner Cyr and Spencer Finley were rock solid in defense,” DeLeon said. “Cyr even snagged a rare goal from a header.” Also mentioned for “great shifts in the midfield” are juniors Joe Lee, Dylan Sicklesteel and Taylor Fay.

Scoring for La Conner were Todd Hoagland assisted by freshman Hayden Schmidt in minute 8, and also a solo in minute 10; Eric Reinstra assisted by Hoagland in minute 14; Tanner Cyr, minute 63; and Joseph Lee assisted by Dylan Sicklesteel in the 70th minute. The score at halftime was 3-0.

The Braves played away at Shoreline on Saturday, Sept. 24. The Crusaders walked away with a 2-0 win and first place in league. Shoreline Christian has won both of their league games; La Conner has won one out of two games. Overall, the Braves have won five and lost two; Shoreline has won four and lost two.

Todd Hoagland was selected for “team of the week” by Washington Soccer Central. The organization honors what it deems to be the best athletes in the 2B League statewide. Hoagland continues to lead 2B League in goals, but by a much larger margin this week. He has racked up 17 goals. Second place is held by Mark Phillips of Bear Creek, with 13 goals.


The girls played a quick three match for the win on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at home. The Braves won in 3: 25-8; 25-10; 25-4. Kelley McClung had 19 assists and 5 aces; Emily Anderson had 7 kills; Emma Christianson had 14 aces; and Katie McKnight had 16 aces and 4 kills.

“It was a match where we worked hard to keep the momentum on our side,” Coach Suzanne Marble said. “We took care of the little things, and everyone did a nice job for us tonight. Concrete had a tough time with Emma and Katie's tough serving.”

The girls left for Longview to take part in the annual Mark Morris High School Tournament. The girls competed among 16 teams across all league divisions, and took fifth place. Coach Marble said the girls won their competition in the morning, then beat 2A League Black Hills (25-23, 25-20), 2A League Sequim (25-13, 25-23), split the match with 3A League Kelso (25-15, 14-21) and made their way into the Gold Division bracket.

In the Gold Division, the Braves played 2A League North Thurston, beating the much larger school two out of three (22-25, 26-24, 15-11), and next played 2A League Mark Morris. The tournament hosts won the match in 2 (15-25, 22-25). The Braves then played 3A League Timberline in what Marble called a “great battle.” Timberline won in two very close games (24-26, 26-24. 13-15).

“We had a great day overall and played some really tough competition,” Marble said. “We had the opportunity to play much bigger schools all day, and the girls played tough and never gave up. We played six matches and got a ton of experience, and I couldn't be more pleased with the outcome.”

Tournament highlights: Kelley McClung had 94 assists, 5 aces and 5 kills; Emily Anderson had 30 kills, 7 aces and 4 blocks; Priscilla Ponce-Venegas had 5 aces, 52 digs and 56 kills; Emma Christianson had 48 digs, 10 aces; Katie McKnight had 10 aces; and Carly Anderson had 47 digs.


The girls hosted Concrete Tuesday, Sept. 20, walloping the Lions 8-0. Scoring for the Braves were Kelsie Crawford, 3 goals; Madi Cavanaugh, 2; Ashlyn Reinstra, 1; Kirstyn Bell 1; Tessa Bruland, 1.

“We played well in this game with great passing and team-work,” said Coach Amy Freeto. “ Everyone got to have ample time on the field. People like Nikki Finley, Sammie Mesman and Tessa Bruland were able to put goals in the back of the net. These players do a lot of work on the field to set up other goals, like Nikki, and protect our goals, like Sammie and Tessa, so it's great to see them get the glory of putting the ball in the back of the net.”

The team played an away game against University Prep Wednesday, Sept. 21. The teams tied 1-1. Coach Freeto said she is more proud of this match than “the others where we’ve blown teams away,” because “U-prep came out fast and furious, and we made some very quick, very different adjustments to our formation.” Freeto pulled a midfielder back to defense and put senior Bailey Cunningham out of her normal defensive position.

Freeto has glowing praise for Cunningham’s response to the switch by “man-marking” U-Prep’s striking forward. “Bailey has proven herself in the past two seasons to be able to shut down some of our state’s top forwards; she once again frustrated and frazzled their fast, speedy and powerful offense-so much so, that the one goal they scored was from a defender.”

The goal happened “unmarked” from the backfield, because Cunningham and the rest of the defense had their offense shut down.

U-Prep had 26 attempts on a goal to La Conner’s six attempts, with keeper Tessa Bruland “coming out with 21 glorious saves,” Freeto said. “Ashlyn Reinstra and Sammie Mesman controlled the midfield and defense and kept everything in place for us.”

Kirstyn Bell was brought in because “we knew she was the only one with the speed to do what we needed her to do--play two positions at once,” Freeto said. “Bell did such a great job, she provided an assist to Kelsie Crawford on the team’s only goal.”

The team played the 3A League Sedro-Woolley JV on Saturday, Sept. 24 and won 4-1. Scorers were Nikki Finley with 2 assists, Sammie Mesman, Ashlyn Reinstra and Kelsie Crawford.

“A team goal of ours has been to be more effective scoring and defending cornersand we are succeeding in this goal early,” said Freeto. “We let in a goal off a well-placed free kick.”


The Braves have gone down in history as the first team to beat the Bellevue Christian Vikings. The team was undefeated before arriving in La Conner. The Braves won 39-24.

At first, the game looked iffy for the Braves, as the Vikings scored a touchdown right away. The first quarter ended with the Vikings up 10-7 over the Braves.

Touchdowns were scored by Landy James on a punt return; Skylar Krueger, two running touchdowns; and Dahlton Zavala, two running touchdowns. Extra points were kicked by freshmen and first year kicker, Taylor Swanson.

“I was specifically proud of the way we bounced back from a tough loss at Adna the week before,” Coach Lee said. “Our offensive line was determined to win the line of scrimmage and play physical. I also felt the backs and receivers did a great job of taking advantage of the opportunities they were given.”

“We are going to be a much improved team moving forward if we can continually maintain everything we fixed going into the Bellevue Christian game,” said Coach Lee. “The staff was more than satisfied with the effort and the courage the kids played with last Friday night.”

He specifically noticed the team is improving in defensive take-aways. “We had two interceptions and a caused fumble that really put us into good positions to score,” he said. “The defense gave up 10 points only, which we really needed, having surrendered 44 and 40 points to our last two opponents.”

He sees plenty of improvement in the sophomore athletes. “Although they are young, their improvement so far has been a great thing to see,” he said.

Coach Lee has selected Skylar Krueger as player of the week.

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