SOC BOYS SOCCER GLANCE
SOC BOYS SOCCER GLANCE
COACH: Dave Potter (sixth year)
LAST YEAR: 13-2-1, 7-0 SOC
CURRENT RECORD: 5-0-1
AT A GLANCE: Maybe the most dominant program in all of SOC sports, South Medford has won nine conference championships in the last 13 years. All but one of those are outright, and seven have been exclamated by perfect league records, including last year's crown. Under Potter's direction, the Panthers are 31-4 in five seasons of SOC play and have claimed two outright and one shared conference title. They are an overwhelming favorite to add to their SOC-banner collection this fall. ... Despite all that conference success, and a ranking that regularly ascends to among the state's top five, South's playoff runs have been short-lived in recent years. The Panthers have lost in the second round of the Class 4A state playoffs for three years in a row since making the semifinals in 1999. ... South, ranked second, forged a 0-0 home tie Friday with No. — Sheldon, state co-champions in '02.
COACH: Eisa Tiaa Tutu (sixth year)
LAST YEAR: 10-4, 5-2 SOC
CURRENT RECORD: 2-3
AT A GLANCE: Matt Sharp and Alex Christlieb, both two-time first-team all-SOC standouts, have moved on to NCAA Division I-A soccer (Sharp at Bradley; Christlieb at St. Mary's). Their senior class included nine others on the Ashland squad last fall, three more of whom were second-team all-stars. The Grizzlies suffered a 1-0 first-round defeat at Cleveland in the state playoffs after finishing tied for second and with the SOC's third seed, thanks to a shootout loss to co-No. 2 Crater. ... Fabian Garcia-Flores and Ferguson were all-SOC honorable mention last fall, and they should form one of the conference's best scoring tandems. Add Brazilian exchange-student Souzra to the rotation, and Ashland should be explosive up front. Our strength is our strikers, Tiaa Tutu says. (Garcia-Flores and Ferguson) are the two guys I'm depending on. ... Goalkeeper Tony Laughlin, honorable mention all-conference a year ago, broke his leg in club action last spring and will miss his senior year. Injured senior striker Hilder Rodas is also lost for the season.
COACH: Chris Gallegos (second year)
LAST YEAR: 12-4, 5-2 SOC
CURRENT RECORD: 2-1-2
AT A GLANCE: The fall of 2002 will forever be remembered as the breakthrough season for Crater soccer. Both the boys and girls teams claimed the first state-playoff berths in school history. The Comet boys, tabbed sixth in the preseason coaches poll, burst onto the scene in Gallegos' first year. Crater's first-ever win over North Medford in the SOC opener paved the way to a 5-2 campaign and the league's No. 2 seed to the postseason. The Comets beat Thurston, 3-0, in Round — for the program's first playoff win. ... A pair of first-team all-SOC performers in '02, Todd Sesock and Scott Malone, have graduated. But Crater returns as its center pieces first-team goalkeeper Iboa, and second-team selection Hangartner, who has moved up to the central midfield. Armed with six returning starters in all, the Comets hope to keep the ball moving forward this fall. We're just looking to make the playoffs, Gallegos says, and show everybody that we're no fluke.
Scott Gottula (11th year)
LAST YEAR: 6-9, 4-3 SOC
CURRENT RECORD: 3-2-1
AT A GLANCE: Crater was the biggest SOC surprise last fall, but Grants Pass wasn't far behind. Picked seventh in the preseason coaches poll, the Cavemen defeated Klamath Union, 3-1, on the final day of the regular season to earn the league's fourth and final playoff spot. What made it so satisfying was that we knew we had to beat them, Gottula says of the clutch victory over the Pelicans. To come through and do it like that was quite a tribute to our kids and their willingness to hang in there the whole year. Hampered by injuries, GP struggled in nonconference play early before blossoming for its first playoff appearance since 1998. The Cavemen lost at Centennial, 3-0, in subtournament action. ... Hackett is the lone returning all-SOC talent. He earned second-team status as a sophomore and will be expected even more of this fall. What he gives us is a lot of energy, says Gottula, who plans to put Hackett up front on occasion but primarily use him in the central midfield. He's a tough matchup because of his speed. ... Korbulic, Janke and Divine are three-year lettermen and the cream of a seven-senior crop.
COACH: Marty Ledgerwood (third year)
LAST YEAR: 9-5, 4-3 SOC
CURRENT RECORD: 2-3
AT A GLANCE: Klamath Union fell to Grants Pass, 3-1, on the final day of the SOC season last fall, which cost the Pelicans a playoff berth. KU had reached the postseason three straight years. ... Ricardo Guerrero, Tyler Casey, Zach Tucker and Jonathan Fay were the senior leaders of the 2002 team, and each received first- or second-team all-SOC accolades. Goalkeeper Ortega, a second-team selection, is the only all-SOC performer returning. Ledgerwood, whose Pelicans advanced all the way to the state final in '01, says Ortega will be heavily depended upon this fall. He's kind of what we're building this group around, says the coach. Ortega, who impressed in a 3-1 nonconference loss to South Medford on Sept. 16, is joined by the Cornachione brothers in the back ' Matt is sweeper; Adam stopper ' to give KU what should be a solid defense. ... Ledgerwood thinks his team can contend despite its youth. They're getting better every day, he says. That's what's fun about them ' the way they've been able to learn and grow.
COACH: Steve Kaser (fourth year)
LAST YEAR: 6-8, 2-5 SOC
CURRENT RECORD: 3-3
AT A GLANCE: A three-year playoff drought is what Roseburg aims to end this fall. Stone, a second-team all-league pick last fall, and Sjogren, honorable mention for his work on the wing, lead the way. I think we have the opportunity to do well, but I just don't know, Kaser says. ... The Indians' primary concern is a defense that returns no starters and has been searching for consistency. We've been working on new defenders, and we're starting to fix the problems, Kaser says. If we can continue to develop in that area, we can be competitive. We do have some quality players in the midfield and up front. ... Kaser is pleased with the camaraderie of his current squad. They have great chemistry, he says. They work well together. But at times, we've been inconsistent. ... Roseburg's SOC schedule is unfavorable, as it must travel to Ashland, Klamath Union, South Medford and Grants Pass this fall. Eagle Point, Crater and North Medford visit the Indians. ... Despite struggles record-wise, Roseburg did play playoff-bound teams tough a year ago. The Indians lost 3-1 at Grants Pass and 3-2 in a shootout to Crater in the season finale.
Rich Garcia (12th year)
LAST YEAR: 3-11, 1-6 SOC
CURRENT RECORD: 2-3-2
Branden De LucaMFJr.
AT A GLANCE: North Medford isn't used to losing, so last fall's 3-11 slip was a rough ride. The Black Tornado, which lost all but two starters and four lettermen from its 2001 edition, finished seventh in the SOC and missed the playoffs for just the second time in Garcia's 10 complete years. It weighs heavily on you, says Garcia, who became a North assistant in 1987 and took over the head reins five games into the '92 season. You kind of start thinking, 'Maybe I should let somebody else do this.' But these kids, I owed them to get it back on track. These kids are working hard for me. ... Snapp, second team, and Reid, honorable mention, are the Tornado's returning all-SOC performers. A fullback as a sophomore and midfielder last year, Snapp has moved up front this fall. Reid remains the defense's central anchor. ... Garcia believes his team is back to playing the tough, intense style previous North squads were known for. We're young and aggressive, he says. And the one thing I think this team has much more than last year is they've got chemistry. ... Goalkeeper Benitez has been a big surprise for Garcia.
Tim Sweeney (first year)
LAST YEAR: 1-12, 0-7 SOC
CURRENT RECORD: 0-4-1
Michael SweeneyGK So.
AT A GLANCE: Eagle Point is winless in the SOC for 11 straight years, according to Sweeney. That drought isn't likely to end this fall, as the Eagles have just 13 players in their entire program and only one senior. Lew, who joins Sweeney's son, Michael, as the team's co-captains, is the only returning starter. Right now, our goal is to play hard for the whole 80 minutes and to not quit even through the face of adversity, says Sweeney, who also coaches Eagle Point's girls team. We want to try to continue to develop the players and the program. ... The Eagles allowed 170-185 goals in 2002, Sweeney says. It's vague because some teams under-reported when they called in to the newspaper, he says. Our goal this year is to knock 100 goals off that total. So far, Eagle Point has permitted 43 goals and scored just one, in a 1-1 tie with the Henley JV. ... A newcomer to the sport, Provost has displayed staying power at sweeper. (He) has played, now, four soccer games in his life and has shown outstanding athletic ability and a real knack for leading the team, Sweeney says.