Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Weekly Braves sports capsule Oct. 26, 2011

photo by Amylynn Richards
Photo by Amylynn Richards

photo by Amylynn Richards
Photo by Amylynn Richards
Photo by Amylynn Richards

Photo by Karla Reynolds

Lady Braves clinch co-league soccer title
By M. Sharon Baker
The La Conner girls’ soccer team clinched the league title Monday with a 2-1 win over Friday Harbor. The victory comes on the heels of Saturday’s 4-2 non-league win over Napavine, which they could face in state playoffs.
The Friday Harbor game capped off a 11-2-2 season and gives the Braves their first league championship in four years. Coach Amy Freeto expected a lot from this year’s squad, which is largely the same team from 2010.
“We’ve been to the state tournament in the last eight years and coming in I knew we could advance to the state finals,” she said.  In 2009, the team finished fourth in the state
The Braves lost four seniors last year including center midfielder Sydney Hartwick, a high impact player. “This year we have a core group of juniors and we’re not just relying on one or two players,” Freeto said. “This team is strong.” The core group includes senior Nikki Finley, and juniors Kelsie Crawford, Ashlyn Reinstra, Madi Cavanaugh and Sammie Mesman, as well as sophomore goalie Tess Bruland.
Crawford, a forward, notched the game winner Monday, which brought her goal tally to 20 this season. She’s the county’s leading goal scorer.
Sweeper Mesman put the Braves on the board in the first half of the Friday Harbor game after driving home a cross from Finley. The team took at 1-0 lead into half-time, but Friday Harbor stole the games’ momentum with a tying goal just two minutes into the second half.
Friday Harbor made a good effort to score a go-ahead goal, pressing La Conner for a full 15 minutes. La Conner found its second wind and began to push forward generating several shots on goal. The Braves were rewarded when Crawford found the back of the net with just four minutes left in the game.
“It feels good,” said Freeto after the game. “Friday Harbor has been our nemesis and it came down to our last game this season. This win puts us where we want to be.”
The win gave the Braves the co-league title, which they share with 1A Friday Harbor, and the No. 1 2B seed going into the Bi-District tournament. If all goes as planned, a district title could put them in position to face Napavine in the state finals, a team they just beat 4-2 on Saturday.
“Napavine has come in second in states for the past three years,” Freeto said. “We’ve never had the opportunity to play against them or to gauge ourselves against them until now. It was good to come out with a win.”

from Braves Raves...
By Amylynn Richards

The boys’ soccer, girls’ soccer and volleyball teams have each finished the regular season as the #1 seed going in to district competition. Football is still has two league contests, one against Darrington and the other against Orcas Island.
For teams now entering district tournament play, Athletic Director Peg Seeling wants to remind fans that playoff tickets are $6 for adults, and $4 for senior citizens and students with ASB cards in hand.
The girls’ soccer team beat Orcas Island high school 2-1 on Thursday, Oct. 20. “We hadn’t played since our Sedro Woolley win ten days ago, and the extended break hurt us,” said Coach Amy Freeto, “It was a close game.”  Earlier in the season, the Braves beat Orcas Island 5-0.
The girls played Napavine on Saturday, Oct. 22, and came away with a 4-2 win. “The game was easier than we expected,” said Freeto. “We mentally prepared well for this game, and each player put their best game on the field.” Ashlyn Reinstra scored the first two Brave goals, and Kelsie Crawford and Nikki Finley added goals in the second half. “We had control of the game, which was great for our confidence and as a rebound from our long break and a subpar game against Orcas,” Freeto said.
With the 2-1 win over Friday Harbor, the Braves now move into Bi-District play, with the team set to play at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 3 at Sammamish High School, according to Seeling.   
On Friday, Oct. 21, the Braves beat the Concrete Lions 40-12. “It was a huge win for our guys and a great win for the program,” said Coach Johnny Lee, “It’s hard to express how proud of this group I am. They came out ready to play in a huge game atmosphere – essentially a playoff game – and performed great.”
Braves touchdowns were scored by Dahlton Zavala with 2 rushes; Skylar Krueger with 1 rush, Bobby Poulton with 1 reception; and Landy James with 2 receptions. The win was “more than any individual effort; it was the most complete team effort we’ve had this  year,” Lee said, “Our offense was up over 630 yards and our defense held the Lions to under 200 yards.” The team now needs to win one of their two remaining games to earn a bearth into the playoffs. “We’re looking to win both and not leave things to chance,” Lee said.
The Braves play the Loggers in Darrington on Friday, Oct. 28 at 7 p.m. and the final game is at home on Thursday, Nov. 3 at 5:30. Seniors will be honored at the Orcas game.
The girls played Mount Vernon Christian in Hurricane territory on Tuesday, Oct. 18 and won the match in three games (25-8; 25-13; 25-11).  Team highlights: Kelley McClung had 28 assists; Emily Anderson had 12 kills and 4 aces; Priscilla Ponce-Venegas had 8 kills; and Aubrey Stewart had 5 kills.  “We started the match in control and didn't let up in the next two sets,” said Coach Suzanne Marble, “I was proud of the way our girls kept their composure and focused on our side of the court.”
The Braves beat Orcas Island on Oct. 20, winning the game in three matches (25-9; 25-18; 25-12). Team highlights: Kelley McClung had 25 assists and 3 kills; Priscilla Ponce-Venegas had 6 aces and 12 kills; and Emily Anderson “was tough serving from the line with 15 for 15 and 8 aces,” Marble said. “Kelley did a really nice job of leading our offense tonight. She was a strong part of our offense with 3 kills and really did a good job of mixing up our hitters tonight.”
The team now moves into district playoffs as the No. 1 seed from the north division.  The Braves play Saturday, Oct. 29 against the Hurricanes at the Mount Vernon Christian campus at noon.  Their first Bi-district game will take place on Saturday, Nov. 5, in Stanwood, but the time has yet to be determined.
The boys beat Mount Vernon Christian in a close game at home on Oct. 20, with a 3-2 win, and enter Bi-District play this Thursday. Scoring for the Braves in the win were Hayden Schmidt, Tyler Baker and Todd Hoagland. The boys ended the regular season as league champions after top ranked Shoreline Christian lost last week. Overall, the Braves’ record is 12-3.
Seeling says it is still unclear whether the boys will play the District 1 game at 1 p.m. in La Conner on Thursday, Oct. 27, or at Grace Academy at 6:30 p.m.

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