Spring sports preview: Loaded SHS boys soccer squad on target for another state playoff run

Spring sports preview: Boys soccer

Head coach: Dave Brasher (24th year)

Assistants: Ken Garling, Jake Hughes

2018 finish: 14-6-2 (9-3-0, tied for second in Olympic League); 3-1 at districts, 1-1 at state 2A tourney

Top returning players: Ryan Tolberd (jr.), Michael McAleer (jr.), Rudy Franco (sr.), Adrian Funston (jr.), Sean Weber (sr.), Navy Thomas-Brenske (jr.), Eli Gish (so.), Chris Morgan (sr.), Ian Parker (sr.), Reid Parker (jr.), Brandon Benson (sr.), Angel Servin (jr.), Caleb Spencer (jr.)

Newcomers: Mathys Tanche (jr.), Christian Gonzalez (fr.), Kristian Mingoy (fr.), Rodrigo Silve-Carrasco (fr.)

Key league competition: Kingston, North Kitsap, Port Angeles

After posting a 2018 campaign that saw the Wolves break a number of school records and post the program’s first state playoff victory, Sequim’s boys soccer squad looks primed for another deep playoff run.

Seven of the Wolves’ 11 starters are back to play for a squad that tied for second in the Olympic League, posted three wins in four district games, and were just two victories from the state 2A championship game. They also set a school record with 79 goals.

“(Our) starting eleven is going to be pretty good,” veteran SHS coach Dave Brasher said.

Sequim has the unenviable task of replacing Liam Harris, the now-graduated midfielder and 2018 Olympic League MVP who set the school record for goals in a career, finishing with 44 scores by season’s end.

The Wolves also lost a number of key seniors — including all-league second team defender Matthew Craig and varsity keepers Liam Stevenson and Nick Janikic — plus exchange student Hayuk Minano, a first team all-leaguer who set a school single-season record for assists.

But the Wolves return a number of key athletes on the offensive end and backfield, many of whom kept up their soccer chops during the offseason.

“Most of them played (club soccer) in the fall,” Brasher said.

While junior Ryan Tolberd is rewriting some of SHS’s scoring records — the first team all-league forward set the school mark for single-season goals (21) — Sequim has plenty of other options including club team veterans Mike McAleer (10 goals in 2018) and Adrian Funston (six).

Sean Weber, an all-Olympic Leaguer in 2018, bolsters the midfield as this season’s team captain and vocal leader, Brasher said.

A top addition to this year’s roster, the Sequim coach notes, is Mathys Tanche, an exchange student from Belgium who Brasher calls a “hard nosed” midfielder.

“He’s going to step in nicely,” Brasher said.

Seniors Chris Morgan and Rudy Franco anchor a strong defense, and are backed by another club soccer veteran Navy Thomas-Brenske, who steps into a starting role after the graduation of starting keepers Liam Stevenson and Nock Janikic.

“They’ve played with him, they trust him,” Brasher said of Thomas-Brenske.

Other returners like the Parker brothers (Ian and Reid) help with what Brasher said could be the Wolves’ Achilles heel: “I don’t know about our depth.”

But, Brasher noted, “I’ve been surprised with some of the freshmen,” including strong preseason showings from ninth-graders Christian Gonzalez and Kristian Mingoy.

Adding to the mix is sophomore Eli Gish, whom Brasher said may be the best athlete in the bunch.

Sequim’s top competition figures to be familiar, including defending Olympic League champions Kingston (whim the Wolves eliminated in last year’s district tourney) and North Kitsap.

Junior Navy Thomas-Brenske moves into the starting goalkeeper role this spring for the Wolves. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Junior Navy Thomas-Brenske moves into the starting goalkeeper role this spring for the Wolves. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Junior Navy Thomas-Brenske moves into the starting goalkeeper role this spring for the Wolves. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Mathys Tanche, an exchange student from Belgium, lofts a shot on goal at a preseason practice at the Albert Haller Playfields last week. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Mathys Tanche, an exchange student from Belgium, lofts a shot on goal at a preseason practice at the Albert Haller Playfields last week. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

Mathys Tanche, an exchange student from Belgium, lofts a shot on goal at a preseason practice at the Albert Haller Playfields last week. Sequim Gazette photo by Michael Dashiell

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