Medical Lake hopes to challenge Lakeside in NEA soccer
Medical Lake soccer found out who still rules the roost in the Northeast A League last week.
And that remains Lakeside following the Eagles’ 3-0 win Thursday in Suncrest. But the Cardinals are not that far behind, their coach Zane Higgins believes.
He and his team will find that out when spring break ends and the schedule picks up April 15 with a contest at Riverside before hosting Lakeside April 17.
Medical Lake followed the setback with a 4-0 win at home Saturday versus Newport where Dallas White scored twice as the Cards evened their NEA record at 1-1 and are 4-4 overall, winning three of their last four.
“When we played well, we played really well,” Higgins said of the Lakeside contest. “We just had a couple of lapses and we should have won a couple of games we lost.”
Eli Williams scored two goals for the Eagles, the first just a minute into the game and the second in the 57th minute. “The first goal, I don’t even think we touched the ball,” Higgins said.
“(The Eagles) possessed it very well, and (we) just got caught like a deer in the headlights. We weren’t there, we weren’t ready to play.”
It wasn’t a good way to start and it’s something Higgins always talks about. “A lot of the goals that are scored in the first five minutes of the half and the last five minutes of the half,” he said.
Medical Lake began to pick up their game that resulted in a couple of breakaways. “The keeper made two real nice saves,” Higgins said.
“We could have had a couple of goals and actually went up on them,” Higgins said. But then Williams got a late goal for the Eagles. “We’ve got to find a way to maintain our focus,” Higgins added.
White, a junior, comes into the season having set the school record for goals in 2013 with 22 for a Cardinals team that finished 9-8 after a pair of playoff losses.
“I think he’s kind of hitting his stride,” Higgins said, something that was evident in last Saturday’s Newport victory.
Sophomore Ryan Spangler is the leading goal scorer early. “Yeah, he’s tearing it up, he’s playing very well,” Higgins said. “He’s doing that from the midfielder position, that’s even better, he’s kind of doing it (scoring) from everywhere.”
Medical Lake is getting added help from a pair of foreign exchange students, Enver Deniz out of Germany and William Herner from Sweden.
“We usually get some pretty good foreign exchange students,” Higgins said. “I think there’s some active people in the community who really push that.”
Medical Lake also has a luxury. “We have four goaltenders who can start for us,” Higgins said. “They are all kind of interchangeable.”
Brendan Satcher is the Cardinals’ starter in the net. “He’s having an excellent year,” Higgins said. “But I’ve got four guys who could start on varsity,”
That’s a nice problem to have, Higgins added.
And that’s not including Steven Velazquez, last year’s keeper who suffered a serious knee injury that has turned him in the direction of golf as a low impact way to close out his Medical Lake career.”
But Velazquez was also valuable when Higgins put him out in the field.
A couple of brothers, senior Taylor Masteller and Ty Masteller, a freshman, are seeing considerable playing time.
“Overall we have pretty good talent this year,” Higgins said. “My back four are all seniors.” They include Kouta Fitzgerald, Ricky Petersen and Taylor Dormaier, along with Deniz.
Lakeside will once again be the team to beat, Higgins said. Judging from their scores this year they look even stronger.”
Paul Delaney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.