Southridge boys ready to rule 11
The Skyhawks are a big favorite to win the 2011 Metro League crown
Nothing less than that can describe the aspirations of the Southridge boys water polo team for 2011.
The Skyhawks, Metro League champions and third-place finishers at state a year ago, are back and ready to roll this season with a team that is deep, talented, experienced and hungry.
And they are the consensus choice among Metro League coaches to win the 2011 league championship.
'I think Southridge will take Metro, and I (expect) … Lincoln, Sunset, Beaverton and us to battle out the second, third, and fourth-place positions,' said Westview coach Dan Guidoux.
'Calling the league right now is hard to do, but I always expect a strong showing from Beaverton, Westview and Southridge,' said Sunset coach Doug Keller. 'Southridge in particular has some great talent, however, I would not count Sunset out at all.'
For his part, Southridge coach Erik Akerman described the league race as a 'shoo-in' for his team (see the Southridge team preview below) while still offering respect for his Metro opponents.
'Every team has a few good guys, but none of them has the depth. And Beaverton has a bunch of guys out, but we'll have to see how good they are,' Akerman said. 'We'll see how it goes once we get to league.'
Following are previews of the Metro League's Beaverton-area varsity boys water polo teams.
ALOHA - There are no gimmes in the Metro League.
Aloha's boys water polo team knows that as well as anyone after struggling through a 2010 Metro season that saw the Warriors go 0-10 and finish sixth in league play.
And the 2011 Warriors must make due after losing three all-league players from a year ago. Nonetheless, Aloha does return four other players who will form the core of this year's team.
That group of returning varsity players will be led by this year's team captains, senior driver Christian Woodman and sophomore driver Justin Hua.
'They're our most experienced players,' said first-year Aloha coach Thomas Traudt, a former Westview High player. 'Other than them, it's a very fresh team. We have a lot of sophomores on the roster.'
Senior driver Trevor Dalzell returns with experience, and he'll be joined by junior Thomas Peterson, senior Bayan Sardari, sophomore Danny Ackley, senior David Banks, junior Andrew Gibson, sophomore Logan McKim, sophomore Richardo Medina, senior Dakota Pierre, junior Griffin Potts, senior Collin Rice, sophomore Jared Rice, sophomore Eric Salazar, senior Elliot Sanchez, and sophomore Seongho Jeong.
'I think we'll match up pretty well with a lot of the Metro teams,' Traudt said. 'I think it's a pretty even playing field in the Metro this year.'
BEAVERTON - Balance.
Balance and anticipation. Those will be the keywords for the Beaverton boys water polo teams this year, and if the Beavers achieve those goals, they may also put together a strong 2011 season.
'The key for us to be successful this season is anticipation and reacting quickly,' said Beaverton coach Matt Bayha, whose team went 3-5-2 and finished fifth in Metro League play last year. 'If we do that, we'll be able to finish in the top three this year.'
This year's team will be led by junior captain Dylan Mitchell (he was a second-team all-leaguer in 2010) and senior captain Phillip Kriegel, along with supporting players junior Stephen Kearns, junior Daniel Howse and junior James Gayaldo.
Mitchell will lead 'with his knowledge of the game and quickness and skill,' Bayha said, adding that Kriegel adds 'inspirational leadership. I think that will make a good balance for the team.'
The rest of the Beaverton lineup includes senior Sean Bagley, senior Connor Miers, junior William Mitchell, sophomore Jeff Soles, senior Victor Tran, junior Ben Murphy, senior William Sing, junior Daniel Howse, junior Andrew Linneman, senior Joe Gayaldo and junior Nathan House.
BEAVERTON - Southridge is locked and loaded.
The Skyhawks bring back a Metro-best total of four all-leaguers from 2010 and enter 2011 brimming with confidence for the coming league schedule.
'A league title should pretty much be a shoo-in,' said Southridge coach Erik Akerman, whose team went 8-1-1 to win the Metro crown a year ago and later finished third at state. 'It's just a matter of them coming together as a unit and keeping 'em humble.'
The team's all-league returners include senior Kyle Blandin (a first-teamer), senior DJ Heino (a first-teamer), junior Cody Blandin (an honorable mention pick) and sophomore David Stiling (also honorable mention), a group that will be joined by senior goalkeeper Jamal Teano, sophomore Blake Hokkanen and junior Jarred Rimby.
'We've got a pretty solid first six guys,' Akerman said. 'This is the first time we've had a team like this.'
Also on the varsity will be sophomore Ajay Naik, freshman Mark Moshofsky, senior Devon DeJardin, freshman Camden Rimby, freshman Scoot Kirkpatrick and sophomore Aaron LoPrete.
'Defense will be a major focus for us this year,' Akerman added. 'But I don't think we'll have trouble scoring goals.'
CEDAR MILL - Potential.
Sunset's got it this year, but how that potential translates into Metro League wins remains to be seen. The Apollos went 5-3-2 last year and placed third in league.
'The key for the boys team this year will be synergy,' said Sunset coach Doug Keller. 'We have a lot of talent this year and we will win games for sure, but the potential to go far this year is great if we can pull together as a tight unit.'
Key to that ambition will be the play of senior trio Zane Bambusch, Sam Sullivan and Thom Wilkinson.
'This year, we expect Zane Bambusch and Sam Sullivan to step forward as our main leaders,' Keller said. 'But team captain Thom Wilkinson will add a unique dimension to our offense by giving us three left handed players in the pool at times.'
Freshman goalies Kai Klocke and Sean O'Brien have also shown great promise early in the season. They'll be joined on the varsity roster by sophomore Will Albright, senior
Corey Pfleiger, junior Braden Martinez, sophomore Braden Esping, sophomore Benjamin Lewis, junior Grant Johnson, senior Curtis Crawford, senior Sean Rush, and senior Mitchell Vogel.
ROCK CREEK - Westview has a chance.
The Wildcats, who went 4-5-1 and finished fourth in Metro play a year ago, feature just two seniors in its 2011 lineup, but still believe they have a shot at a successful season. Indeed, their 2010 campaign might have lasted a bit longer if not for a first-round playoff matchup with eventual state champion Newberg.
'I think we will have a tough and exciting year,' said Westview coach Dan Guidoux. 'I think we will be fighting for third in Metro.'
This year's team will lean heavily on those two seniors - Dusan Micic and Avan Xu - as well as on junior Tal Lind. Micic and Lind will serve as the team's captains this season, positions made even more important by the fact that the Cats' lineup will include three freshmen and four sophomores.
'The team leaders will also be the team captains, who are junior Tal Lind and senior Dusan Micic,' Guidoux said.
The rest of Westview's varsity lineup will include freshman Devanshu Awasthi, freshman Andrew Schubert, sophomore Mel Matthew Comoda, freshman Daniel Grasty, Matt Allen, junior Matt Lawyer, sophomore Nghi Le, sophomore Kenneth Do, junior Glenn Bishop and sophomore Noah Hofiens.