The Wilsonville Wildcats have a soccer team that has done very well this last couple of years. Two years ago, they were 16-1-1 (8-0 in league) and cut an unbeaten streak all the way to the state finals, where they lost 0-2. Last year, they were 14-3-2 (5-1-1) in league play, and made it all the way to the finals, where they fell to Woodburn, 0-1. Stumbles in the finals aside, Wilsonville has been consistently one of the best teams in the state.
Despite their recent streak of success and returning all-leaguers (junior) Henry Tellez and (senior) Oscar Baron-Soto, coach Ian Reschke is hesitant to make any bold predictions.
"I have learned over the years that it is impossible to predict how we will fare based on pre-season observation," Reschke said. "Our initial inclinations are rarely accurate. Last year, for example, we were treating as a rebuilding year having lost many seniors to graduation from the 2015 team that made it to the state final and then we end up making it to the state final in the end. It serves as a good example that anything is possible despite the circumstances."
The Wildcats will be returning with an older, experienced team, with only four underclassmen on the roster. As the coach that led them on two state title runs, Reschke pointed out veterans and young players to watch for.
"Oscar Baron-Soto is one of the best keepers in the state, he has a lot of experience he brings to the group as a senior," Reschke said. "He and Henry Tellez are good leaders on the field. Henry is an experienced junior who has played in the last two state finals with us. He brings us experience, athleticism and a tremendous work ethic.
"Sophomore Ryan McCord brings high energy to our training with his athleticism and work ethic, in addition to his good skill. Angel Ulloa brings a load of skill and club experience to add to our midfield. He has a passion to compete at his highest level and he expects those around him to do the same," Reschke added.
While he noted individual athletes, ultimately Reschke believes teamwork is what will put the team back into the title hunt.
"We have a hard-working group that have put in a lot of time this summer," Reschke said. "While individually there are a few standouts on the team, the team's collective effort (synergy) will mostly influence the direction we go this year."
The coaching staff of Wilsonville's boys soccer team will need to figure out how make all of their talent work cohesively. Reschke thinks they're up to the task, and have to be in a league in flux.
"The coaches need to sort out the puzzle of players we have, put them in the right spots and give them very specific jobs to adhere to," Reschke said. "The players need to work hard, buy in to the system(s) put in place and believe and trust in each other.
"There was a lot of talent lost to graduation, so I think there is a bit of uncertainty amongst the league. The usual players of Hillsboro, La Salle and Putnam will probably be up there, but don't count out any of the other teams. There is very little separation in level of play across this league. There are no pushovers on any given night," Reschke added.