Thursday, April 18, 2024

CHS Soccer Places Top 8 at State

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The boys soccer team won league and advanced to state where they secured a top eight placement.   Heading into state, the Kodiaks were seeded fourth, but players approached the challenge presented by state playoffs with a winning mindset and hoped to take first.

In addition to securing their spot at state when they defeated Manson (5-0), successes of this team include an impressive season record, a coach named Caribou Trial League Coach of the Year, domination of the coveted Caribou Trail League 1st Team Roster, and a senior player who will continue to play at the college level.  

The conference record for Kodiak boys soccer boasts seven wins, two ties, and one loss against Quincy, another team headed to state and seeded third.

“For these games, it’s one loss and we’re out.  In the league we played every team twice, so there was always a chance for redemption.  These state games are a lot more intense,” Vincent Slette said.  Vincent Slette, Kodiak defender, has played varsity for the team for three seasons.  This was his first attendance at state playoffs.  Despite the intensity, Slette believes the team will have success.  In preparation they are “coming together as a team so that everyone feels supported.”

Captain Kevin Castillo-Herrera described the team as “a soccer team that wants to win everything, a team that has a lot of chemistry between every single player and [the] coach.”

Game one of state playoffs for the boys was against Vashon High School.  The boys advanced on after beating the Vashon Pirates (4-0) on Friday night at the Apple Bowl in Wenatchee.  The competition continued Saturday when the Kodiaks faced University Prep, a private school based in Seattle.  As the final buzzer rang, the score was tied.  Fans went wild as the two teams competed via shootouts.  In the end, the Kodiaks lost by one point (2-3), but Cascade fans were still triumphant, as the boys placed 5th at state.

This success can largely be attributed to head coach, Jesus Sandoval, whom the boys agree is incredibly deserving of the title Caribou Trail League Coach of the Year title bestowed on him this year. “He’s definitely patient.  He knows our limits, so he’s always pushing us.  He’s consistent with drills, warm-ups and everything we do.  He reminds us regularly that ‘how you practice is how you play,’” said defender/midfielder Fernando Tovar.  Tovar credits Sandoval’s consistency with the success of the team this year.  “We are taking the skills learned during practice and applying them on the field during games,” said Tovar.

The respect between players and coaches is mutual.  “This has been a great season so far,” said Sandoval.  “At practices, everyone knows that we need to stay focus[ed] and work hard if we want to continue being successful. We work hard on getting used to different formations and situational play. I expect a lot from each of the players and that is part of the reason we are improving every day at practice.”

The team captains, elected by a vote of the players, include seniors Joseph Wall and Edgar Mata and junior Keven Castillo-Herrera.  Their leadership has also been instrumental for the team this season.  “ All three captains are great leaders. They all push us and make sure to hype us up when going out on the field, making sure we give it our all. Them being motivational and really boosting are spirits positively on and off the field has been a key role to our success. They personally influenced me because they are positive and always help me keep my head high and play hard throughout big games,” mentioned sophomore Ryan Denega.  Mata is hopeful that as they progress into the post-season they will “perform well. We have been playing together for a while now and understand each other pretty well,” said Mata.

Over fifty percent of the 1st Team All-League awards for the Caribou Trial League includes students from Cascade High School.  Kevin Castillo, Angel Sandoval, Shane Slette, Edgar Mata, Ryan Denega, Joseph Wall, and Frank Rosario were all honored with this title.  “These players motivate us to play better.  They help us to increase the intensity of our practices,” explained center-midfielder Alonzo Johnson.  Johnson credits Mata and Wall with “help[ing] to push the whole team.  If anyone shows up to practice with a negative mindset [Mata and Wall] will make sure to turn it into a positive one.”

“Honestly, we are lucky to have such a great group of players. The internal competition makes everyone better. All of these guys are key to the success we are having. This year I have seen a lot of growth [from] Ryan Denega, Joseph Wall, Kevin Castillo, and Angel Sandoval. However, the reason they are being so successful is because they play well as a unit,” Sandoval said.

“I think the number one thing leading to the boy’s success is their attitude.  They are doing a nice job of being confident without being cocky.  They come to every game ready to play and have been consistent throughout the year,” said CSD Athletic Director Dominique Coffin.  

One student who will be continuing his soccer career after high school is senior Joseph Wall. He recently tried out for and made the team at Wenatchee Valley College. Playing high school soccer at Cascade for the past four years has prepared Joseph for college soccer by “showing that the future will be hard, but if I keep pushing myself, working hard, and believing, I’ll get there.” During his senior year, Joseph has been playing center back, helping defend the goal against all worthy opponents. Wall has been pushing himself for his future soccer career his entire life, “I’d like to keep playing my hardest, and see where it takes me in the future.”

cascade high school, Top 8, State

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