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Bear Creek boys are rolling through their soccer season
Bear Creek’s boys soccer squad has been tearing through the Sea-Tac 2B/1B League this season.
The Grizzlies notched a 9-0 regular-season record and amassed 54 goals during that run. Now, the league tourney is upon them and the boys are continuing their winning ways. Bear Creek opened the league tourney yesterday with a 3-0 victory over Mt. Rainier Lutheran and is scheduled to play another match tomorrow.
“We feel confident. We have a strong core of guys that have played with each other for a long time. We know how we all play and that helps with everything,” said senior midfielder and co-captain Sajan Nauriyal after Tuesday’s practice.
He added that the Grizzlies’ main goal is “don’t get beat” on defense; and it worked since they only conceded four league goals this season.
“(Coach Chad Pohlman) is really strong on finish this year — finishing, whether it’s your last sprint or last game of the season,” Nauriyal added.
Alex Davisson, a senior defender and co-captain, has played on varsity for four years and feels the Grizzlies bring a cohesive team to the field each time out. He’s played soccer with fellow seniors Blake Denniston, Luke Blankenbeckler, Jesse Leuenberger and Stan Leszynski since kindergarten and is glad to still be along on the ride with them.
Both seniors and sophomores are playing well together and enjoying each other’s company, the co-captains said.
“This year’s been one of the better years as far as attitude. Everybody’s upbeat and positive,” Davisson said.
Brandon Saw is another top senior, according to Pohlman, and the Grizzlies’ top sophomore crew includes Sam Humphries, Nathan Sim, Keelan Nauriyal, Andrew Ray and Mason Montgomery.
Humphries leads the team with 16 goals, Blankenbeckler is second with 11 goals and Denniston has 10 shutouts in the Grizzlies’ 16 total games (they are 15-1 overall and have outscored opponents, 76-6).
Bear Creek has found massive postseason success over the last six years, especially in state tourneys: first in 2006, second in 2009, fourth in 2007 and 2011 and fifth in 2010 and 2012.
“We’re just as solid. I can see us doing good things (in the postseason) this year,” said Davisson, who said the team moves the ball outside to its midfielders, works the ball upfield and looks for its opponents’ weak spots and attacks on offense.
Speaking of offense, Keelan Nauriyal led the Bear Creek charge with a hat trick during its 7-0 win over Shorewood Christian on Oct. 18. Older brother Sajan feels Keelan could be part of the Grizzlies’ postseason success and their future accomplishments.
“It’s the first time I’ve ever played on the same team as him — it’s a cool thing. He’ll know where I am, but then there’s also times where like, if either of us plays a bad ball, you hear about it after the game,” Sajan said with a laugh. “It carries into the home life.”
Davisson chuckles, as well, and adds that he loves watching the Nauriyal brothers connect on the soccer pitch. Cousins Blankenbeckler and Leuenberger share that familial bond, too, which Davisson feels gives Bear Creek a boost when the games begin.