Sports

Wolves receive national soccer ranking

Not only are four of the state’s top soccer teams gathering this weekend to decide the Class 4A champion, but apparently four of the nation’s best will be there as well.

At least according to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll, released this week.

All four teams that played late Friday night in the state semifinals — South Kitsap, Lake Stevens, Mead and Snohomish — did so as members of the NSCCA Top 20.

South Kitsap, which made its first ever appearance in soccer’s final four last night, also made its first-ever appearance in the national poll, coming in at 13th. The 17-2-0 Wolves’ opponent, Lake Stevens (18-2-0), was ranked ninth. Mead (14-3-0), the 20th ranked team, played Snohomish (18-1-0), No. 6, in the other semifinal game.

Results of last night’s games can be found at the Independent’s Web site at www.portorchardindependent.com or www.wiaa.com.

Yesterday’s winners will play tonight at 8 p.m. to decide the state champion while the losers play at 2 p.m. in the consolation game.

All games will be played at Sunset Chev Stadium in Sumner.

And while the ranking is nice, South coach Eric Bergeson and his team had more important matters to deal with – namely continuing the best run by a boy’s soccer team in school history.

“We’re in the final four and we’re not finished,” Bergeson said of his team’s attitude all week. “We’re in the final four and we can beat anyone. We’re in the final four and we earned the right to be there and we have plenty of energy and heart and soul (to continue).”

Bergeson said the week leading up to the semifinals was full of fun for both he and the team with all the accolades they have been receiving at school from teachers and students alike. With the exception of a few track and tennis players, the South soccer team is the last spring sports team left standing.

“It’s fun to be where we’ve never been before,” Bergeson said. “It’s fun for the guys and their older brothers ... a decade of making something out of nothing.”

The Wolves worked hard all week despite taking Tuesday off. A wind-blown practice session Wednesday at Silverdale Stadium was cut short, but Bergeson said he liked the work his team got.

In Lake Stevens, the Wolves will get a team that’s not too unlike its own.

The Vikings have a pair of tough midfielders in Kyle and Ryan Warrington and goalie, Zach Hardwick, that has allowed just 12 goals all year and posted 12 shutouts.

Wes Vanhooser, a senior forward and the team’s best player, had knee surgery this week and will not play. But junior Evan Steinruck has filled in nicely, scoring three goals in the past two games.

“I have a lot of appreciation for how they play, but there’s something reassuring about knowing you have a chance,” Bergeson said. “You’re in the final four, you have a chance to win. You can’t ask for more than that. Go out and play and whoever has a good day will probably being playing for a state championship.”

Notes: Every team in every sport this time of year is suffering through one major problem, injuries. And the Wolves are no different.

Entering Friday’s semifinal, South had its share of banged and bruised kids but overall the team is in pretty good heal considering the time of year.

Senior defender Tim Grey is still feeling the effects of getting the back of his leg stepped on during the May 13 Narrows League Championship game and a cut suffered on his right eyelid in South’s first round game against Kamiak May 16.

Junior midfielder Travis Gutierrez has a sore Achilles heel while goalie Tony Saddler has been playing with a sprained finger on one hand and a banged up knee. Junior midfielder Kyle Schoales is just plain beat up and sore but all were expected to play this weekend.

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