Wildcats adjusting to loss of largest senior class in program history, departure of Timbers academy recruit Rene Hernandez
Its almost as if Ian Reschke has taken a coaching position at a different high school.
He hasnt hes entering his 12th year at the helm of the Wilsonville boys soccer team but his starting lineup this season bears little resemblance to the one that reached the Class 5A quarterfinals last year.
Gone are three first-team all-league honorees in forward Nick Pinto, goalkeeper Andrew Phillis and defender Dylan Livesay. Gone are fellow all-league players Eric McNiel and Collin Klassy. And gone are the other members of the biggest senior class in program history.
A major challenge of losing such a large senior class is finding good chemistry within the mix of players we have, Reschke said. Last year, (we) had a group of about 10 or 15 players who had played with each other for 10 years or more. They knew each others strengths, weaknesses and tendencies. It was more about learning a system of play last year. This years group will need to focus more on learning each others styles of play. Once we establish everyones strengths and weaknesses, we will work toward implementing a specific system of play that will play to our strengths. Whether thats a 4-4-2, 3-5-2, 4-3-3 or whatever formation, we wont know what will work best for us until we experiment with different combinations in the preseason.
Unfortunately for the Wildcats, whose first home game is slated for 7 p.m. Sept. 10 against Portland-Cleveland, their gaping voids dont end with their graduated seniors.
Also missing from this years roster is Rene Hernandez, who joined the Portland Timbers youth academy after a stellar freshman campaign in which he garnered first-team all-league recognition as a forward. Players in the professional clubs development ranks are not allowed to compete for their high school teams.
Other teams will be happy to know that Rene is not back this year, Reschke said. I was not really surprised, as a player of his quality would be hard to overlook. His finishing touch will be missed, so we need players to step it up this year to fill his shoes. Its not really clear where our scoring will come from at this point, but I do think we will need to share the responsibility as a team.
Adding to the uncertainty for Wilsonvilles attack is the absence of Jasper Samatowic, who received second-team all-league honors as a junior midfielder last year. Hes not on the team this season, Reschke said.
Ironically, our collective strength as a team is that we do not have the individual talent as a whole like we did last year, Reschke said. What I mean by that is that we will have to rely more than ever on working as a team.
Leading the group is senior captain Timmy Bourque, a second-team all-league defender last season who also has club experience as a forward.
We will experiment with him on the front line from time to time, Reschke said.
Other key utility players include Alex Roberts, Andrew Fairrington, Carlos Ulloa, Edgar Hernandez, Garrett Bonnell, Jason Johnson, Kyle Roberts, Sam Bullock, Sam Laurin, Tyler Martin and Joevanny Garcia. Positions have not yet been determined, Reschke said.
However, Reschke has certain spots in mind for particular athletes. Sam Parker and Ben Scott will be assigned defensive duties when called upon. Adam Kane is an option at midfield. Matt Taylor and McKinnley Alvarez are potential forwards.
The thing about this team is we have players who can play multiple positions, so we cant really label all players as forwards, mids or defenders at this point, Reschke said.
Theres also an unsettled transition in the box, where the Wildcats do not have a definitive starting goalkeeper pinned down at this point for the first time in Reschkes 12-year tenure.
The leading candidate is Roberts, who Reschke said would also provide a spark on the field if given the opportunity. Another contender for the position is Bricker Like, who has worked with assistant coach Greg DeVille over the summer and who Reschke said is probably the most solid on the fundamentals and technique. A third option is Trevyn Vermillier, a 6-foot-3 athlete who Reschke said provides good size in goal.
Regardless of which goalkeeper earns the starting nod each game, its up to Wilsonville to figure out its strengths as quickly as possible so it can prepare for a preseason that includes four tilts against Class 6A opponents and one at Hood River Valley in a rematch of a 2012 quarterfinal.
As for competition in the Northwest Oregon Conference, Reschke said he expects three or four teams to be gunning for a title in the last week of the season.
To make his point about the nature of the league race, he reminds his team about the consequences of its overtime loss to Putnam last year.
If we could have held on to the 1-1 tie at home last year in overtime, we would have ended up being league champs two weeks later, he said. But, as it turned out, Putnam scored in the last minute of overtime to win the game and essentially the league title. Of course, at the time, we had no idea that our season standing would be so affected by that lone minute. Needless to say, it provided a good learning moment for all of us at the end of the regular season in regard to how important every minute of the game is.
AT A GLANCE
WILSONVILLE BOYS SOCCER 2013
Coach: Ian Reschke (12th year)
Last year: Lost to Hood River Valley in Class 5A quarterfinals
Key players: Timmy Bourque, Andrew Fairrington, Alex Roberts
Key losses: Dylan Livesay, Nick Pinto, Andrew Phillis, Eric McNiel, Collin Klassy, Rene Hernandez, Jasper Samatowic
Outlook: Its a year of transition for Wilsonville, which is trying to figure out its strengths following the graduation of its largest senior class in program history and the departure of Portland Timbers academy recruit Rene Hernandez.
First home game: 7 p.m. Sept. 10 vs. Cleveland
9/3 West Linn (6A) 7:45 p.m.
9/10 CLEVELAND 7 p.m.
9/12 North Salem (6A) 7 p.m.
9/17 STAYTON (4A) 7 p.m.
9/19 Tigard (6A) 7 p.m.
9/24 HILLSBORO (6A) 7 p.m.
9/26 Hood River Valley 7 p.m.
10/3 LIBERTY * 7 p.m.
10/10 St. Helens * 7 p.m.
10/15 SANDY * 7 p.m.
10/17 Sherwood * 7 p.m.
10/22 Putnam * 7 p.m.
10/24 PARKROSE * 7 p.m.
10/29 MILWAUKIE * 7 p.m.
* Northwest Oregon Conference game