Coming off a great year, Warrior soccer team was left off list
by: L.E BASKOW, (Left to right) Jesuit’s Drew Smalley beats Grant’s Will Goodling to the ball while Mark Cushing of Jesuit and Sam Ullman of Grant look on. The Crusaders, defending state champions, won 5-1.

A published Class 5A girls soccer poll had one glaring omission this week -Cleveland.

The Warriors lost only twice last year, to PIL champion Lincoln and 1-0 in the state playoffs to South Eugene, which took powerful Tualatin to penalty kicks in the state final.

'My principal was asking, 'What's going on? I thought we were going to be good this year,' ' says Cleveland coach Brian Taylor.

The poll also seemed strange because it ranked Roosevelt No. 5 -and the Roughriders haven't even fielded a varsity team in years.

A new version of the poll has Cleveland at No. 4, and for good reason. Taylor, the PIL coach of the year in girls soccer last year, returns top goal scorers Courtney Sterkel and Olivia Ashton to go with midfielders Claire Groth, Allison Meyer, Kelli Bigler, Annie Pippert and Liza Gray, defender Emily Flock and third-year goalkeeper Kelli Gano. Gray has led the Warriors in assists the last two seasons.

New additions looking good are fullbacks Hilary Nichols, a freshman, and Anna Sky and sweeper Sierra Whitehill.

'My expectations are high,' Taylor says.

- Taylor had a record 73 players turn out for soccer and had to make cuts for the first time in his 20 years at Cleveland. He is carrying 19 on varsity and 20 each on two junior varsity squads.

- The Warriors are slated to play their 5A rivals (Jefferson, Roosevelt, Madison and Marshall) twice each -games that figure to be lopsided. 'The league office is trying to get it to where we just play a single round-robin with those teams, provided they can fill those games they'd miss,' Taylor says.

- Jesuit's boys, who are the defending state soccer champions, won 5-1 at Grant on Tuesday, with forward Matt Van Houten and midfielder Andy Wolverton getting two goals apiece and forward Peter Foster notching one goal.

'The right players, our attacking players, are scoring,' says Dave Nicholas, in his 21st season as Crusader coach.

Jesuit will be tough to dethrone, with its strength up and down the middle of the field. Junior Matt Finn, a backup last year, is now the No. 1 goalie, which frees senior Drew Smalley to move from goalie back to his favored position in midfield. 'We're happy he's back in the field,' Nicholas says.

The Metro League, down to six teams as one of seven 6A districts, has gone to a double round-robin, which means Jesuit will play two games each against 2005 runner-up Westview and semifinalist Southridge, and Sunset, Beaverton and Aloha.

'Very tough,' Nicholas says.

On Tuesday, Jesuit plays Wilson at Rieke Elementary School. The Crusaders were scheduled to face Franklin, but the defending PIL champions have lost the bulk of their team and Wilson seemed more capable to the PIL office of giving Jesuit a match.

- Prime college baseball recruit Joey Mahalic, the senior pitcher-slugger from Wilson High and one of the best prospects in the Northwest, has visited Hawaii and also is considering Arizona State, Southern Cal, Arizona, Notre Dame and Oregon State. The 6-4, 210-pound Mahalic probably will make a decision after he finishes his visits this fall.

Mahalic was named second team All-American by the National Coaches Association for his play last season.

- South Medford basketball star Kyle Singler will visit Arizona this weekend, Duke the next weekend and Kansas for its Oct. 13 opening of practice. He already has visited UCLA and Washington and made an unofficial trip to Duke.

- Catlin Gabel has pieces in place to defend its state girls cross country title (the Eagles won the 2A/1A title last year and now will run in the combined 3A/2A/1A meet Nov. 4 in Eugene, if they qualify).

Catlin returns sophomore Hayley Ney (second at state in 2005), junior Murphy Pfohman (14th), senior Maddie Miller (24th), junior Maddy Case (25th) and sophomore Julia Ruby (51st). And the Eagles have added sophomore Calley Edwards and freshman Christine Weston.

The boys team could make it to state this year, too, with defending league champion Ian Wayne, a junior, joined by fourth-year runner Cody Snell, Thomas Conerly, Sam Estrem, Greg Conyers and others.

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