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Jensen, Lillie are state 4A Players of the Year

The two local athletes are honored as the states best players in Oregon Class 4A high school soccer


by: JONATHAN HOUSE - Gladstone senior Amber Jensen makes a body block to gain possession in Gladstones 2012 state final with Mazama. Jensen, who helped lead Gladstone to three state titles during her high school career, has been named Class 4A girls soccer Player of the Year for the second year in a row.The state’s Class 4A soccer coaches have honored two local high school soccer players as their 2012 Oregon 4A Players of the Year.

Gladstone senior Amber Jensen was selected the top Class 4A female player in the state and La Salle senior David Lillie was honored as the top 4A male player.

It’s not the first time Jensen has received the honor. She was also named Player of the Year in 2011 and she was selected first-team all-state as a sophomore. This was the third year in a row that Jensen has been named Tri-Valley Conference Offensive Player of the Year. She made first-team all-league in the Capital Conference as a freshman.

“We were 4A/3A/2A/1A Amber’s freshman year and they didn’t have a 4A/3A/2A/1A all-state team that year,” said Gladstone coach Steve Thomas. “If they had, Amber would have been on that first team too. We’ve gone 64-5-3 [40-0-2 in league] and won three state titles [2009, 2011, 2012] and four league titles since Amber came into our program and Amber has player a big part in that success....”

by: JONATHAN HOUSE - La Salle senior playmaker David Lillie, pictured on the attack in the Falcons 2012 state final with Philomath, proved tough to stop this fall. The states Class 4A high school coaches have honored Lillie as the Class 4A boys soccer Player of the Year.Lillie was first-team all-state as a junior and he captained the Falcons to a 16-3-0 record and second place in the state this season. Lillie was Tri-Valley Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Year a year ago and he was league Co-Offensive Player of the Year this fall.

“David played for La Salle the last three seasons, playing defense the first two years and central-midfielder this year,” said La Salle assistant coach Derek Ray. “He scored four goals and had 10 assists this year. But you can’t judge David’s accomplishments solely off of stats. You have to watch him play and see the impact he makes on a game to get a full appreciation of his ability and what he is capable of.

“What makes David so special is his versatility. You don’t have many players that can win Co-Defensive Player of the Year one year and then win Co-Offensive Player of the Year the next in one of the best conferences in the state.

“He can play defense and be an instrumental offensive player. He is the epitome of a well-rounded player. He has great ball skills, but he also has a great work ethic and tenacity that are hard to come by at the high school level. He is also a great leader. He served as captain for two years and led both on and off the field.”

Jensen this year played a part in 50 of the Gladiators’ 72 goals, scoring 34 goals and making 16 assists. She had 37 goals and 14 assists as a junior; 15 goals and 11 assists as a sophomore; and 15 goals and 11 assists as a freshman.

Jensen is among only five female players in the history of Oregon high school soccer who have scored over 100 goals during her high school career. The senior forward set new career school records, with 101 goals and 52 assists, breaking the old marks of 83 goals and 42 assists set by 2008 Gladstone High School graduate Emily Tsugawa.

“What makes Amber really special is she can dribble at the same pace that she can run, which very few girls can do,” Thomas said.

“[The 4A Player of the Year honor] means a lot, because I’ve achieved my goal of getting [first-team all-state honors] every year,” Jensen said.

Jensen has verbally committed to play soccer at Portland State University, which has finished atop the Big Sky Conference standings in three out of the last four years.

She plans a criminology major.

“I want to be a police officer when I’m older,” Jensen said.

Jensen says she committed to PSU early because “I wanted to be close to home and, on my visit, I really bonded with the girls on the team.”

“It’s always been a dream of mine [to get state Player of the Year honors],” Lillie said. “It’s something that never seemed possible. You just play your hardest and try your best throughout the season, and then it happens. It’s a great honor.”

Lillie says he is as yet undecided about where he will attend college and whether or not he will play college soccer.

“I’ve been talking with a few coaches,” Lillie said. “But for me the main thing is getting a good education and a degree in something I’m interested in. If I could do that and play soccer too, that would be awesome!”

Lillie says he plans to study business and engineering in college.

Gladstone coach Steve Thomas has been honored as the 2012 Class 4A girls soccer Coach of the Year.

“It’s a nice accolade,” Thomas said. “But like I’ve always told the girls, I’d much rather win a state championship than win Coach of the Year.”

In 15 seasons at Gladstone, his Gladstone girls soccer teams compiled a 160-66-17 record, winning seven league titles and three state titles.

With Thomas at the helm, the Gladiators have gone 64-5-3 overall (40-0-2 in league) over the past four seasons, outscoring opponents 284-23. They were the best defensive team in the state [for all classifications] this fall, outscoring opponents 72-3, en route to a 16-1-1 record (9-0-1 in league).

As freshmen this year’s seniors went 17-0-1 (12-0-0 in league) on varsity, outscoring opponents 65-5 en route to their school’s first state title in soccer. As sophomores they went 14-2-1 (9-0-1 in league), outscoring opponents 63-9 and losing to Mazama in the semifinals; and as juniors they went 17-2-0 (10-0-0 in league), outscoring opponents 84-6 and winning their second state title.

Jensen and Lillie weren’t the only players from their schools to earn Class 4A all-state honors this fall.

La Salle senior forward Dakota Eisel was named to the Class 4A boys first all-state team, and Gladstone goalkeeper Joren Nielson garnered honorable mention in the balloting.

Eisel was La Salle’s leading scorer this fall, with 24 goals. La Salle sophomore keeper Dylan Tran had nine shutouts.

Gladstone senior midfielder Madi Cronin and La Salle senior midfielder Amanda Byrne were named to the 4A girls first team, and Gladstone senior defender Taylor Plunkett was a second-team all-state selection.

Twelve different players scored goals for Gladstone girls this fall and 14 players had assists. Gladstone sophomore goalkeepers Molly Webster (10 shutouts) and Gabrielle Wachlin (5 shutouts) teamed up with Gladstone defenders to record a school-record 15 shutouts, while allowing a school record of only three goals.

Other leading offensive players for Gladstone this fall were junior Kelsey Hathaway, 17 goals and 9 assists; junior Kendall Schumaker, 3 goals, 8 assists; Cronin, 3 goals, 7 assists; and junior Cheyenne Stubblefield (4 goals, 5 assists).

Gladstone girls this fall had eight players receive recognition in the Tri-Valley Conference all-star balloting.

Jensen was named TVC Offensive Player of the Year and Cronin was named TVC Defensive Player of the Year.

Senior defender Taylor Plunkett and Hathaway joined Jensen and Cronin on the TVC’s first team of all-stars.

Sophomores Mikaela Simac (defense), Riley Webster (midfield) and Molly Webster (goalkeeper) were selected to the TVC’s second all-star team.

Kendall Schumaker (midfield) and Julia Schumaker (defense) received honorable mention in the balloting.

Hathaway and Molly Webster were also first-team all-conference selections in 2011.

While Lillie and Eisel were on the 2012 TVC boys first all-star team, the Falcons had five players named to the league’s second team of all-stars: senior defender Peter Nguyen, junior midfielder Keegan Wesley, sophomore defenders Kevin Luyamba and Ian Hamel and Tran. La Salle junior defender Stephan Malin garnered honorable mention in the balloting.

Gladstone senior forward Ty Breshears joined Nielsen on the TVC boys first team. Gladstone junior forward Eder Zavala was named to the second team, while junior midfielder Victor Ibarra and freshman defender Andrew Gross gained honorable mention in the all-league balloting.




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