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.