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Redmond High, Overlake boys soccer squads set to complete regular-season matches
With the playoffs right around the corner, Redmond High's boys soccer players know what needs to be done to make it deep into the postseason.
"We're going to need a lot of commitment out of everyone," said senior forward Ryan Pfeifer, who has five goals to go along with senior midfielder Stephen Jinneman's five to tie for the team lead.
Added senior goalkeeper Grayson Raffensperger prior to Redmond's 2-1 loss to Skyline on Tuesday night: "We've got to be able to hold the ball and not get upset when things aren't going well. We've got to stay tough and play as one."
Heading into tonight's match against Eastlake (7:30 p.m. at Redmond), the Mustangs are 5-3-1 in 4A Kingco play and 7-5-1 overall.
Redmond kicked off the league play with a 4-0-1 record and hopes to regain that fire.
"We have 20 good guys on the team, so you always know the 11 on the field is going to be a solid 11," said Jinneman, who shares captain duties with Raffensperger. "It's always fun to play. You look forward to coming to practices every day. You look forward to playing in these games. You know you're going to have a good time with your friends out here."
Redmond has posted five shutouts (with both Raffensperger and Agazi Birkner sharing net duties) and tallied 24 goals. League shutouts were against Garfield, 1-0, and Newport, 4-0.
Other top goal scorers this season are Pablo Gallo-Arias with three and Edson Basurto, Andrew Drazkowski, Brenden Narloch and Daniel Piker with two each.
It's crunch time for Overlake's boys soccer team.
With wins against Northwest School tomorrow and Bush on Saturday, the Owls could slide into the 1A Emerald City League playoffs. Overlake, which is 1-4-1 in league and 4-4-1 overall, needs to crack into the top three of the five-team league to make the postseason; the Owls are currently fifth.
Overlake warmed up for those matches by defeating 3A school Evergreen, 4-3, on Wednesday thanks to four goals from junior forward Shawn McCall.
Along with McCall, Overlake's top players this year are senior midfielders Rob Neir and Chris Chin, senior defenders Andrew Gold and Elijah Waalkes and freshmen midfielders Nathan Cunningham and Loucas Tsilas, according to coaches Michael Krumbholz and Micah Orr.
"Our starting 11 is almost all seniors and we've played together for awhile. We've got a good mesh between everybody, good chemistry, good passing skills," said Gold, adding that the Owls are a strong team that can pull through and earn a playoff berth.
Waalkes, Neir and Chin — all members of Overlake's 2012 state championship squad — echo Gold's comments and feel it's time for the Owls to strike.
Neir reminisces about what he learned when he stepped on the Overlake soccer pitch as a freshman and feels that successful team's top qualities need to come into play today and tomorrow: "I think I've learned a lot about discipline and camaraderie from my coaches and from my teammates."
Overlake players are not only striving for victory on the field, but in the classroom, as well.
"I think we've all learned to balance our studies and soccer," Chin said. "Being a student-athlete here is really challenging because of the type of academic environment here, so I've learned to manage my time."
Left to right: Overlake’s Andrew Gold, Elijah Waalkes, Rob Neir and Chris Chin. Photo: Andy Nystrom, Redmond Reporter