Sports

Boys soccer: Hancock, de la Cruz represent Wolves on all-Kitsap team

Kitsap News Group

A youthful South Kitsap boys soccer team finished with a 8-6-2 record, but did not advance to the playoffs for the first time in more than a decade. Despite that, there was some strong individual play that was reflected in the all-Kitsap team as two players were honored with starting-lineup selections.

The all-county team, made up of eligible players from schools in Kitsap County, was voted on by the sports editors and writers of the Kitsap News Group, including the Port Orchard Independent, Bremerton Patriot, Central Kitsap Reporter and North Kitsap Herald.

The 2011 All-Kitsap County Boys Soccer Team Starting LineupForward — James Hill, Bremerton, senior: Hill, the league’s top scorer, helped lead the Knights to their first state-tournament appearance in 20 years. Hill made the most of his last year with Bremerton, tallying 14 goals and six assists during the season. The Knights relied heavily on Hill to help anchor the team, especially when fellow top scorer Nick Riders missed three games due to a red-card violation.

Forward — Alex Raquer, Bainbridge, senior: Raquer used his speed to get past many defenders this season, scoring 16 goals and contributing an assist. He scored his last six in the postseason, including the game winner in the Metro League title game. Raquer will try to walk on next year at the University of Washington.

Midfielder — Michael Crowley, Bainbridge, sophomore: Crowley formed a formidable partnership with Connor Winship in the midfield as he helped the Spartans to the state-championship game for the first time in school history. He led the team with 10 assists and scored five goals.

Midfielder — Diego de la Cruz, South Kitsap, junior: De la Cruz is the lone remaining player at the school who played for the Wolves’ 2009 Class 4A state-championship team. But the third-year starter’s presence on the field goes beyond historical distinctions. Some at the school argue that he might be the best player in program history and coach James Ritchie expects de la Cruz, who scored 11 goals and had 10 assists this season, to play professionally.

“His technique is absolutely incredible,” Ritchie said. “Without a doubt, Diego is one of the most talented players I’ve ever seen.”

Midfielder — Jordan Kollars, Central Kitsap, sophomore: Kollars has only played two seasons with the Cougars, and he’s already making a name for himself. Kollars totaled eight goals and 11 assists last season. He helped lead CK to its second state-tournament appearance in three seasons.

Midfielder — Miles Rodriguez-Nielsen, Central Kitsap, junior: Rodriguez-Nilsen was one of Central Kitsap’s top scorers, leading the team with 10 goals and four assists last season. The CK standout played an important role in the team’s victories against league favorites Bellarmine Prep and Gig Harbor.

Defender — Will Devereaux, Bainbridge, senior: The versatile Devereaux did whatever was asked of him this season — from dropping back to clear balls and mark up on many top scorers in the Metro League to moving up to the forward position and becoming a scoring option. He scored nine goals and registered four assists.

Defender — Evan Hancock, South Kitsap, senior: Hancock was one of the Wolves’ more veteran players among an inexperienced group of defenders this season. Despite that, the unit remained a strength as South held six opponents scoreless.“He’s good at whipping in crosses and is strong on the tackle, as well,” Ritchie said.

Defender — Juan Ramirez, Kingston, senior: Ramirez lettered his freshman year and has done so ever since. Kingston coach Craig Smith said Ramirez has played consistently on the defensive team as the “anchor” for four years, proving he is one of the best in the Olympic League.

Defender — Carlos Tirado, North Kitsap, junior: With the exception of Ramirez, North Kitsap coach Chris May said Tirado was the best central defender in the Olympic League — and possibly all of Kitsap County. Along with his strength and quickness, Tirado is skillful with the ball and able to use both feet. He became a captain halfway through the season, when the Vikings lost a senior captain, and May said Tirado has a great “soccer IQ.”

Goalkeeper — Nic Miller, Bainbridge, senior: Miller notched 10 shutouts and a .77 goals against average as he helped Bainbridge earn a spot in the 3A state title game. The senior had his best run in the postseason when he posted shutouts in three games and made a mammoth save in the penalty shootout in the semifinal game against the defending state champs in Glacier Peak.

Coach of the Year — George Vukic, Bainbridge: A master of tactics, the sixth-year coach made all the right moves as he led Bainbridge to a first ever Metro League title, a first ever academic state title and a first ever state finalist trophy.

Honorable mentionsCM Marc Barbosa, Klahowya, senior; GK Jaxom Beverage, South Kitsap, sophomore; MF Brian Bonafilia, Central Kitsap, midfielder; F Dallas Brewster, South Kitsap, senior; MF Alex Correll, Bremerton, junior; D Ryan Frederick, Klahowya, junior; MF Riley Danskin, Bremerton, junior; F Riley Dreany, Olympic, junior; D Austin Hammer, South Kitsap, sophomore; GK Harry Hanson, Olympic, sophomore; GK Jason Kramberger, Kingston, senior; MF Alex Olson, North Kitsap, junior; MF Brad Olson, Bainbridge, senior; MF Nick Tedford, North Kitsap, junior; F Lucas Thoresen, Central Kitsap, junior; D/F Chad Trask, Kingston, senior; MF Connor Winship, Bainbridge, junior.

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