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Boys soccer team hopes to repeat 2013 success

The Lions lost nine seniors but have reloaded with plenty of talent


Photo Credit: MATTHEW SHERMAN - Colton Hefty is one of West Linn's top returning players this year. The Lions are the defending league champions and made it to the state semifinals last fall. West Linn's boys soccer team lost nine seniors off perhaps its most talented squad in school history. However, the Lions have emerged as one of the top programs in the area and its depth has allowed the team to reload with a team that coach Greg Bean feels could be among the best in the state again.

Last season West Linn went 10-0-0 in the Three Rivers League and lost just two games all season, including a 2-0 defeat to Jesuit in the semifinals.

West Linn's JV team also went unbeaten and many of those players will be called upon to play key roles this year.

The Lions have nine seniors again on this year's team and will be led by a strong core of experienced leaders in Colton Hefty, Jake Bray, David Evans, Lucas Evans and Connor Kelly.

“That was a key for us last season was that leadership. We've had talent in the past but we made it a priority to build that chemistry last year and it made all the difference,” Bean said.

Last year's team was propelled by its defense as the Lions didn't yield a goal in nine of 10 league games. The defense should be strong again this year despite losing goalie Zach Nelson to the Portland Timbers' U16 development team.

West Linn had 12 goalies try out for this year's team and two of them will jockey for varsity minutes in junior Jack Weber and senior Jordan Dailey.

The back line also has plenty of experience with both Klose and David Evans returning along with Colin Squires, who used played for Bean's youth team. Those club teams won three straight state titles and this year's varsity team has seven players from that squad.

In the midfield, Lucas Evans has moved up and has become the team's point man. Hefty and Bray, who rejoins the Lions from the Timbers' development team, will also man an extremely talented middle of the field.

Up front, Caleb Snapp will be a key target for West Linn's offense.

Once again, the Lions don't possess a ton of size and will look to play in a manner similar to what gave them success last year. The team will focus on ball control and possession and will hope to capitalize on other teams' mistakes.

“We'll make teams defend us for a full 80 minutes,” Bean said.

West Linn will play its most brutal preseason schedule in Bean's tenure and perhaps the most difficult schedule in the state.

The Lions open up with Jesuit, a team that should contend for the state title again this year. They will also play Central Catholic and McKay, the other two teams that met in last year's semifinals.

Woodburn, Wilsonville and Clackamas are also on the docket.

“We may not be as top heavy as some of those teams but I think we can field 11 guys that could be better than just about anyone,” Bean said.

West Linn expects to contend for the league title again this season in the new-look TRL. Tigard Tualatin, Newberg and Sherwood join the league and each team will just play each other once, giving added importance to each league contest.



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