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Soccer teams look to take the next step

Preview — The NHS boys and girls squads, as well as the CSLA co-ed group, expect to be better this fall


Although the Newberg boys soccer team saw a few potential wins turn into ties and some ties into defeats last season, the Tigers improved by leaps and bounds under first-year head coach M.J. Tate. by: SETH GORDON - Midfield magician - Junior Paul Sweet was a first-team All-Pacific Conference performer as a sophomore last year in head coach M.J. Tate's possession-oriented offense. In year two, Tate expects Sweet to control the flow of play and score goals as the Tigers shoot for a top-four finish in the league.

With a strong core of seniors surrounded by some talented underclassmen, Tate said he believes Newberg is capable of climbing further up the Pacific Conference ladder this fall.

This year’s team will be built on a solid foundation of defense with starting goalie Ryan Vincent and four other seniors across the back row.

Twin brother Ryan Vincent will once again pair with Victor Peinado in central defense, with speedster Jonathan Boss (6A runner up in the 400 meters in the spring) and Eric Albin manning the outside.

Junior maestro Paul Sweet was not only a captain as a sophomore, but was named first-team all-league after carving up defenses and will once again be at the heart of Tate’s possession-style attack from his attacking midfield spot.

Junior Trent Muller, who was a swing player between junior varsity and varsity a year ago, and newcomer Joseph Taeubel, also a junior, will likely play behind Sweet as holding midfielders.

Brandon Cortez will return at as center forward and will likely be flanked by returning varsity contributor Getaneh Kudna on one wing and a combination of brother Habtamu Kudna and junior Tanner Johnson on the other.

“It’s so nice to have a back line of seniors,” Tate said. “That is definitely a positive for this season. It’s nice to have the spine of my team all seniors. My goalie, the two center backs, my attacking midfielder and my center forward are all great leaders.”

The key to moving into the upper half of the conference and earning one of the four automatic state playoff bids will be the same thing that kept the Tigers out of the 6A playoffs a year ago: scoring.

Newberg dominated possession and created seemingly countless scoring opportunities, but failed to convert enough of them to pull away from Roseburg and eventually lost on penalty kicks in a 6A play-in game to end its season.

Tate said he believes ratcheting up the offense will depend on two things: finishing more of its chances from open play and an improvement on set pieces.

“We’re going to be more direct now,” Tate said of set pieces. “We’re going to play to our strength because we have some very tall, athletic players that can hurt some teams.”

The Tigers will play a much tougher preseason schedule than they did a year ago, beginning at Madison Sept. 10, but believe they are much better prepared to succeed within in the Pacific Conference in year two under Tate.

Newberg girls

Tigers head coach Jon Halstead also returns experienced players at all three levels of the field, with senior goalie Marta Burchett buttressing junior Dallin Esmond and sophomore Tian Gilyard, who will anchor the back line.

Lindsay Louis and Kassie Grove will return in central midfield, hopefully feeding attacking players Hannah Green and Mikayla Farr, as well as forwards Samantha Russo and Megan Meyers.

“I think we definitely have experience on our side,” Halstead said. “I’ve got some youth to come off the bench when necessary, but a lot of these girls played summer ball with us and they’re getting to know each other. We’ll see where it goes from there. Hopefully we can develop as a team over the long run.”

Halstread will rely on a talented freshman class that has experienced great success at the youth level to both fill some starting roles and be regular substitutes.

A year ago, the Tigers earned a draw against league powerhouse Tualatin for the first time in Halstead’s tenure. The result was ultimately changed to a forfeit due to inadvertent use of an eligible junior varsity-varsity swing player, but the team’s performance in that game was still an important step forward.

“I think we’re going to be right there at the top of our league,” Halstead said. “We’re going to build on that unfortunate forfeit against Tualatin, take that tie and see if we can’t pull out a win for the first time.”

The Tigers will play in a preseason jamboree on Saturday before opening the season Sept. 10 at Parkrose.

C.S. Lewis Academy

Despite playing with few or no substitutes, including finishing many of their games with just nine or 10 players, the C.S. Lewis Academy co-ed team was still competitive in OSAA Special District 5, which is comprised entirely of 1A schools that have forfeited the opportunity to participate in the OSAA state playoffs in order to play only schools of similar size.

First-year head coach Mike Reimer not only brings a wealth of experience as a former collegiate coach, but will have the relative luxury of a 16-player roster this fall.

“From what I hear and understand I really do think we’ll surprise the league,” Reimer said. “I think we have a good chance to shoot for the top.”

The newfound depth will allow the Watchmen to fully utilize their most talented players, like senior Sam Swan, who will once again marshal the team from central midfield.

Swan’s younger brother, junior Isaak, returns at forward, where he will be paired up with one of the team’s top additions, junior Katelyn Reimer. Opponents will likely underestimate the coach’s daughter at their own peril.

“She’s going to find some success on the field,” Reimer said. “She’ll play up top with Isaac and they’ll be able to get some things done. She’s physical and can get it done. She’s quick and she’s physical and she’s got a great shot.”

Sophomore Cole Evans returns to give CSLA a strong presence in net and will be aided by Kollin Raudsepp, who Reimer expects to lead the back line.

The Watchmen also return contributors Anthony Kowalski, Christian Blair and Matt Warren, and Reimer expects junior Katelyn Reimer, who is new to the team, but not to soccer, to have an impact as well.

“When you’re building a team, you want make sure you’ve got a good goal keeper, center back, center mid and center forward to get it done down the middle, although I think we’ll have a good 1-2 punch up top with Sam as a third attacker, too,” Reimer said. “I really see us creating some opportunities down the middle of the field.”

After the whole school spends the first week of classes at camp, C.S. Lewis will open the season Sept. 13 at Umpqua Valley Christian.




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