Wildcat Soccer Team tops Greyhounds in 1st Round of State

On a gray afternoon, the Wildcat boy’s soccer team took on the Grandview Greyhounds for the first round of the 2A state tournament. Parents, siblings back from college, and classmates packed the stands in what turned out to be a typical AMHS boy’s soccer game for this year: a blowout. Every player on the roster received playing time, and the Wildcats won the game 6-1.

The first goal for the Wildcats came from junior Sam Johnson off the right side of the field, 6 minutes into the game. This was quickly followed by a goal from Isaac Feeney, also  a junior, in the 11th minute. The only other action in the first half came in the form of 2 yellow cards; one for a Greyhound and one for senior Mitchell Lovell.

The second half provided more action.

Only a minute after kickoff, senior Chase Whittaker volleyed in a beautiful goal from the top of the D-ring. In similar fashion to the first half, 5 minutes later (46′) Matt Williams (sr) bypassed 2 defenders to add one more to the scoreboard. 4-0. The next 2 goals came from Grandview, however only 1 of those goals was for their team. In the 52nd minute, Williams took another ball up top to the Greyhounds’ goal and, after shooting it, a Grandview player helped finish it into the goal. The Greyhounds did put one of their own in the AMHS net though in minute 52 after a free kick and some confusion in the box, keeping it from being another Wildcat shutout. The final goal of the game was an absolute laser by Feeney from the 20 yard line to the bottom left corner of the goal.

With a 6-1 win, the Wildcats advance to the 2A State Quarter-Finals for the 3rd year in a row.

The Wildcats are currently undefeated and have a goals for to goals against ratio of 18 to 1. That’s phenomenal, in case you were wondering.

 

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Common Denominators

I’ve been an avid fan of the AMHS boy’s soccer team since freshman year, when I started going mainly because a few of the guys in my biology class were on the team. That year the boys played the majority of their season at Tambark Park because the turf field was being installed at Terry Ennis Stadium. Forcing my mom to pick me up another 15 minutes away from my house that year was probably one of the best decisions I made. Sorry mom.

As anyone who keeps tabs on AMHS sports knows, that year, 2015, the team, under the leadership of phenom coaching duo Mike Bartley and Mike Boswell, won the 2A state championship game against Fife 3-0. Last year, the Wildcats took home the title once again, with a victory ensuing only after a shootout in which sophomore (at the time a freshman) goalkeeper Daniel Mycroft blocked 2 penalty kicks. This year, the team looks to claim a 3rd consecutive 2A state title. So far, they seem on track to do so.

But who are the common denominators you ask? In this extraordinary team, which players have been consistent in their roles these past two and a half seasons?

My answer: the following 7 seniors.

As I’ve mentioned in previous articles, the class of 2017 boasts many phenomenal athletes. The Wildcat boy’s soccer team is lucky to have several of them among their ranks. Matt Williams, Jensen Crisler, Keaton Weyers, and Diego Rios are integral parts of the AMHS offense, while Ryan Henderson, Chase Whittaker, and Jacob Snider hold down the fort on defense.

Williams and Crisler form a pair up top that is nearly unstoppable; between Williams’ speed and Crisler’s physicality, it is rare to see a game go by where at least one of them doesn’t score. Weyers serves as a ball distributor in the middle, sending the ball up and out towards goal. Rios, like Williams, uses his speed to break past defenders and distribute the ball up top, or just shoot it himself.

In the back, Henderson serves as coordinator for the back line at center back. Comfortable in this position from his days as goalie, Henderson easily analyzes the fields and sends the ball up using his strong foot. Whittaker works on the outside, preventing opposing forwards from working down the sidelines while also bringing the ball up them himself. And Snider, although benched this year due to a surgery, typically serves in a similar position as Henderson, distributing the ball off of the back line.

These 7 players don’t completely make up the greatness that is the Wildcat soccer team. However, they’ve been key in the team’s success the past years and so far this season. This year, they are also serving as leaders and mentors to the younger players on the field, which I can already tell they are doing an amazing job at.

Come out and watch the boys at home anytime this season before they take on districts and, hopefully, state.

Player Profile: Chase Whittaker

Senior Chase Whittaker started playing soccer when he was just 5 years old. Although he followed for many years in his father’s footsteps, focusing his athletic career on baseball, Whittaker let his love for soccer take over in the 7th grade. He hasn’t stopped loving it since, and this year marks his 4th and final year with the Archbishop Murphy Wildcats’ varsity boys soccer team.

Under head coach Mike Bartley, Whittaker is utilized across the field. “In high school I end up playing all across the board,” he commented, “a little defensive mid, outside mid, and sometimes even forward.” It was for his role as outside back on his Rush club team however, that he got recruited to play soccer at the collegiate level by Linfield College.

“My mom always told me to pick a school I would want to stay at if for some reason I had to stop playing soccer,” Whittaker said of his decision to commit to Linfield. The team at Linfield is currently restructuring after losing a big senior class, and Whittaker saw this as an opportunity to hopefully play some freshman minutes. He says he’s always looked forward to the intensity and speed of collegiate ball.

Although winning 2 state championships with the AMHS team ranks pretty high on Whittaker’s list of favorite soccer memories, his biggest inspiration comes from two different sources. “I think the game we played against Shorecrest after Kristi had passed away  was probably the most inspirational moment of my soccer career. I’ll never forget the magic and the passion on the field that night,” he told me. Kristi Bartz, a captain of the girls soccer team and a prominent member of the AMHS community, was killed in a tragic accident in May 2015. Whittaker’s other source of inspiration is his late aunt, who he said was a,”born athlete and always challenging [him] to step out of [his] comfort zone.” She passed away from ovarian cancer just a few years ago.

You can see Chase Whittaker in action with the Wildcats for the last time this season as they chase a third consecutive state championship. So far this season the team is 1-0, beating East Valley this past Saturday 1-0.

Emily’s Spring Sports Predictions 

It’s already been a fantastic year for Archbishop Murphy sports. Girls soccer and volleyball both placed 3rd in state, football won the state title, girls basketball is playing for the district championship this week, and boys basketball needs 2 wins for a state berth. Individual sports, such as cross country, swimming, and wrestling, have all sent or are sending athletes to compete in state tournaments.

With tryouts for spring sports just over a week away, here are my predictions for how all the Wildcat sports teams will do in their 2017 season. (None of them are bad because, let’s face it, the Class of 2017 is a phenomenally talented and athletic class, and many of them play spring sports.)

Boy’s Soccer

Losing only one starting senior last year, the Wildcats will be fielding mostly all returning players this season as they look to take the state title for the 3rd year in a row. With powerhouse senior Matt Williams up top, assisted by Jensen Crisler (sr) and Isaac Feeney (jr), and a midfield and defensive front consisting of Sam Johnson (jr), Jake Snider (sr), Chase Whittaker (sr) and goalie Daniel Mycroft (sp), it doesn’t seem far fetched that the boys could bring home the state title again this season. Preseason games are still undecided, as many 3A and 4A teams don’t want to risk their RPI rankings by losing to the Wildcats, but make sure to find time to come out and support the boy’s soccer team. I know I’ll be at as many games as possible.

Girl’s Tennis

Last year, senior Lauren Braswell was the only AMHS tennis player to make districts, with 1st-alternate being Hannah Van Hollebeke. This year, Van Hollebeke is a junior and I’m prepared to see her kick some butt on the court and push through to the district tournament. Also, keep an eye out for seniors Natalie Sizelove and Maddy Williams either as a doubles pair or as singles this season.

Baseball

The Wildcat baseball team is another team poised to go far in districts and possibly state. Led by seniors Parker Sand, Connor O’Brien,  Aleks Hansen, and several others, the team has a good shot of returning to districts again this year and making a run at state. Catch them on Roman Miller Field this spring in their spiffy new uniforms.

Softball

Coaching changes this year have put assistant football coach Damien Holman and dean of students Jeff Latta in the position filled for many years by Stephanie Harmon. However, I don’t expect this to put a damper on the girls’ season. Although they lost several seniors last year, the team should be returning several strong players such as Yutanee Ryan and Mackenzie Treece, while also seeing the involvement of several new players. I’d keep my eye on the softball team this year; I’ve seen Latta coach powderpuff before, and if he can do half as well coaching this team, they’ll be in good shape.

Track & Field

AMHS boasts a large track & field team, consisting of many talented people. From cross country runners Josh Rauvola (jr), Teresa Barron (sr), and Mackenzie Ryan (jr) running the 3200m and 1600m, to football players Paul Schireman (sr), Martin Napeahi (jr), and Kobe Moorhead (jr) doing long jump, discus, and shotput, to soccer player Tia Asher (sp) running the 400m, make sure you look out for these guys throughout the season. I predict several of them will place in conference, at districts and possibly even at state. I’m definitely planning to make my way to a few meets this season because this team is star studded.

Boy’s Golf

The boy’s golf team also has several returning seniors, 3 of whom placed top 10 at districts last season. Steve Shih, Matthew Pabisz, and Jack McClincy, along with junior Fulton Brawner, should once again prove to be forces to reckon with on the course. Possibly the best dressed Murphy sport’s team, take some time to go watch golf this season.

Girl’s Golf

Coach Cassie Snyder is turning herself into a 3 sport coach this season by stepping up to coach golf. The team last year was small, but who knows, maybe there’ll be a bigger turnout this year.

Boy’s Lacrosse 

This should be a good year for the boy’s lacrosse team. The youngest Murphy sports team, only 3 years old, the lacrosse team is technically, because of Title IX, not a sanctioned AMHS team. However, led by seniors Bennett Duffy, Joseph Doyle, and Will Doud, lacrosse will definitely be a sport you should come out and watch this season. 

Mycroft and AMHS Wildcats beat Quincy for 2nd consecutive State Title 

Freshman goalkeeper and star of both tonight’s championship and yesterday’s semi-final Daniel Mycroft had all the ladies lined up for a photo with him after the game. A transfer to Murphy at the beginning of second semester, Mycroft won the game with a phenomenal blocked PK during tonight’s shootout against Quincy. 

This year’s 2A state championship was very different from last year’s. Where last year a 3-0 victory was clinched early on by the boys, this year the fight kept going until the very end. 

Both Archbishop Murphy and Quincy had several shots throughout the game, but a goal didn’t come until the 51st minute. The Jackrabbits netted their goal under a diving Mycroft towards the left goalpost. Their lead was shortlived however, because 5 minutes later a PK from Diego Rios richocheted off of Parker Buchanan’s head and found a diving Matt Williams who headed it into the back of the net. 

The intensity only increased after both teams had scored. But neither team was able to capitalize again despite multiple attempts. There was a total of 3 yellow cards in the game, two for Archbishop Murphy and one for Quincy. 

During both overtime periods, the Wildcats took shots from as far as 40 yards out, on what I’m assuming were  Coach Bartley’s orders. Neither team was able to score however, and the game came down to the all too familiar set of shootout penalty kicks. 

Rios, Williams, Jake Snider, and Jensen Crisler netted their PKs. The Jackrabbits goalie blocked Buchanan’s shot. Mycroft knocked away both the 3rd and last of Quincy’s PKs, giving the Wildcats their second consecutive state title with a 2-1 (4-3 shoot out) win. 

The Archishop Murphy boys soccer team claimed 4 titles this year (league, district, academic, and state) and finished 21-1. Needless to say, we are all extremely proud of our team, especially our D1-bound goalie, Daniel Mycroft. 

Boys Soccer wins State Quarter-Final

The AMHS boys soccer team is on the brink of playing in the state championship for the second year in a row. With a 3-0 win against Aberdeen last night, the boys are set to play in the semi-finals at Sunset Chevrolet Stadium this Friday, May 27, at 6pm. 

Last year, AMHS took on Fife for the 2A State Championship and won, 3-0. This year the boys have already claimed the league, district, and academic state titles. 

Friday’s win against Aberdeen was led by junior captain and starting forward, Matt Williams. Williams has been the leading scorer for the Wildcats this year and has been recognized as a WIAA Athlete of the week. He plays fast and aggressive, and put the first two goals in the net for the Wildcats (’13 and ’27), assisted by Ryan Henderson and Parker Buchanan. Mitchell Lovell scored the third and final goal of the game with just 10 minutes left in the first half. 

Freshman goal keeper Daniel Mycroft had his 16th shutout game. The Wildcats have only allowed 6 goals in total this season. 

Their semi-final opponent will be the winner of tonight’s game, Sehome vs Ridgefield.