Soccer: The Bowmen are hoping to challenge for the NWOC title this season
by: DAN BROOD BACK FOR THE BOWMEN — Nathan Anderson (7) is one of the top returnees for the Sherwood boys soccer team this season.

SHERWOOD - The Sherwood High School boys soccer team's last Northwest Oregon Conference championship came in 2008.

The Bowmen will be looking to change that fact this season.

With a talented, balanced squad, Sherwood, which has placed third in the league standings the past two seasons, will be looking to jump up the NWOC standings.

'We want to challenge for the NWOC title,' Sherwood coach Monty Hawkins said. 'In the last three seasons, the Sherwood boys have advanced to the semifinals (in 2008) and quarterfinals (2010) rounds of the 5A state playoffs. We would like to improve on those finishes this year.'

Among the key returnees for the Bowmen this year is junior forward/midfielder Nathan Anderson, who was a first-team all-NWOC selection last year as a sophomore for the Sherwood squad that went 5-2 in NWOC matches and 10-7 on the season.

'He's a great passer and dribbler of the ball,' Hawkins said of Anderson, who already has two assists and a goal in early season contests with Lakeridge (in a jamboree) and with Canby (in a 2-0 non-league win last Thursday).

Another key returnee for Sherwood will be 6-foot-2 junior defender/midfielder Zach Milligan, who was an honorable mention all-league pick last year.

Sherwood has two other returning starters in junior defender Christopher Roth and senior midfielder/forward Mitch Schaefer.

'He's got great hustle and attitude,' Hawkins said.

Junior Conner Duppenthaler also returns for Sherwood.

'He's a hard-nosed, tough midfielder/defender,' Hawkins said.

Duppenthaler was only able to play in the playoffs last year due to a back injury.

Among the other returning lettermen for the Sherwood boys are senior midfielder Perrin Hess, junior midfielder Jonah Angus, senior midfielder/forward Kevin Bacewich, junior midfielder/forward Parker Ward, senior forward Dane Anderson, junior defender/midfielder Charlie Paul, sophomore midfielder Alex Castaneda and senior defender Max Lierow.

Among the newcomers to the program is senior Anton Laine, who is a foreign exchange student from Finland.

'He's very technical and savvy,' Hawkins said. 'He's adjusting to the physical American high school game.'

Junior Aiden Hackett, who swung between the junior varsity and varsity teams last year, and senior Ridge Bradley are battling for the goalkeeper spot. Bradley is a first-year keeper.

'He's learning and has much confidence,' Hawkins said.

Sherwood is hoping it's able to put things all together to add up to a successful season.

'Our strengths are our passing and ball movement,' Hawkins said. 'The areas we need to improve on are our individual and team defense.'

As for the NWOC this season, Hawkins sees some strong competition ahead.

'I expect Putnam, St. Helens, Milwaukie and Sandy to be much improved for 2011, making it a wide-open league and tough to pick a favorite,' he said. 'Wilsonville and Liberty should be the favorites based on last year.'

The Bowmen will be back in action tonight (Thursday) when it plays at Cleveland in a non-league match starting at 7 p.m.

On Tuesday, Sherwood will host Reynolds in a 7 p.m. non-league contest.

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