Ashland's Murray takes home co-POY honors
Ashland senior midfielder Alex Murray was named Southern Sky Conference boys soccer co-player player of the year, joining three of his teammates on the first-team all-conference list.
Murray, who first made a splash as the freshman boy wonder during Ashland's 2004 run to the state semifinals, helped lead the Grizzlies to a 7-1 record in conference play and a 1-1 record in the Class 5A playoffs. His phenomenal field vision, clever passing and on-field leadership made him an obvious POY choice.
"It's a great honor for Alex," Ashland coach Eisa Tiaa Tutu said. "He created a lot of opportunities for us. He deserved the player of the year."
Murray, the co-player of the year along with Klamath Union's Luis Ortega, had five goals and 10 assists in 14 games this season.
He joined senior defender Rafael Gonzales, junior midfielder Simon Linsday and senior midfielder Camden Lopez as the other Grizzlies on the first team.
Crater junior defender J.R. Iboa, senior midfielder Sione Saenz and senior forward Ian VanDerZwan also were honored on the first team.
"All of them were major parts to our program," Crater coach Chris Gallegos said. "Without those guys, we would not have done what we did."
In his sixth season with the program, Gallegos led Crater to the playoffs with a 5-3 conference record and was named coach of the year.
"It felt pretty good, and I definitely wasn't expecting it," Gallegos said of the honor. "It makes you feel good when coaches are giving a little respect. It's a nice honor to have."
Junior goalkeeper Hernan Torres was the lone first-team player from Eagle Point.
"He kept us in a lot of games that we shouldn't have been in," Eagle Point coach Don Sweeney said of Torres. "He gave us chances to win games, even if we were being outshot."