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It's state time for Bear Creek Grizzlies boys soccer squad
Play solid defense first and then let the offense fill the net with goals.
That's turned out to be a potent one-two punch this season for the Bear Creek boys soccer team (16-1-1 overall), which won the 1B/2B Sea-Tac League title and the District 1/2 crown. Next up is the state quarterfinals this Saturday with a 1 p.m. match versus Mount Vernon Christian at Sammamish High.
This is the fourth year in a row the Grizzlies have qualified for state and seventh time since Chad Pohlman took over the coach's helm a decade ago. Bear Creek won the state title in 2006.
"As the year has progressed, we've done a lot of tightening up in the back. We try to place a high priority on defense and score goals when we can," Pohlman said.
Senior forward Gabe Rongve leads the way in the scoring department with 29 goals. Pohlman said Rongve is a fast and smart player who has waited his turn to lead the offense during his final season.
Junior Sajan Nauriyal has tied the school record with 13 assists and chipped in six goals from his midfield/forward positions.
"He's a skilled player and is unselfish. He's constantly looking for ways he can feed the ball to his teammates. He makes them better," Pohlman said.
Other standouts are senior goalkeeper Michael Worley and juniors Luke Blankenbeckler (nine goals and eight assists) and defender Alex Davisson.
In the district final against Providence last Saturday, Blankenbeckler scored the equalizer to knot the game at 1-1 after 63 minutes. Bear Creek outscored Providence 8-7 in the penalty-kick shootout to win the match.
As for Davisson, coach Pohlman said the defender usually marks the opposing team's top offense weapon and has been successful in shutting that player down.
But it's not just those five guys who have been making an impact for the Grizzlies this season, Pohlman said.
"Every game it's someone different," he said. "There are so many guys who have stepped up and hurt the other teams."