Cheney Free Press -

Staff Reporter 

Medical Lake soccer loaded with numbers, talent

Turnout is 'best we've ever had,' coach Higgins says


April 12, 2018

Medical Lake goalkeeper Kaye Jones will be an important part of the Cardinals fortunes during the 2018 soccer season.

For Medical Lake soccer the past several seasons, it's either feast or famine when it came to numbers.

This year the Cardinals have plenty from which to pick, plus the additional luxury of real experience in skill positions.

Turnout was described as "The best we've ever had, we started out with 45-46," head coach Zane Higgins said. That's down to 43 now including some injuries. Those numbers populate not only a varsity squad but also junior varsity and C-squad, Higgins said.

What's driving the interest is somewhat of a mystery for the longtime coach, but he does not seek answers, just revels in the fact that there is no scratching to just field a JV team.

"I wasn't expecting this many out this year, it's nice to see," Higgins said.

Senior Nick Rosenbeck has been the scoring stalwart for the last few seasons. He and fellow class of 2018 teammate, midfielder Steven Robo, were both first-team All-Northeast A League selections from last season. Other seniors include Almond Lapho, Kainoa Paikuli and Liam Olmstead.

Rosenbeck was voted team captain and team overall NEA MVP in 2017. He had a school season record 22 goals and entered his final year of play with 59 career goals, also a school record in just three years. He also broke the school record for career points (141).

Robo is a "Very strong all-around player," Higgins said. "His technical skills are outstanding."

Carter Pivonka was another key cog last year on offense. Pivonka, and twin brother, James, are notable juniors. James Pivonka had been injured until recently and is a welcome addition in the midfield. "We just got him back against Riverside," Higgins said.

Midfielder Brayden Petersen has been a solid midfielder. "He doesn't get a lot of notoriety from that spot but he does an outstanding job for us," Higgins said. One final junior is Mike Schweikardt, an outside defender.

Sophomore Kay Jones returns in goal. Higgins insists he was "The best goaltender in the league," but surprisingly did not earn any All-NEA team honors for the 6-9 Cards last year.

Andres Burdujan an outside defender, was on JV last year but Higgins said, "He's playing real well for us."

A former forward, Burdujan stepped in where needed. "He kind of took over in James' (Pivonka) spot," Higgins said. "Some people are (either) offensive-minded or defensive-minded, you can't move them. They're too ingrained in how they think about the game."

But there are good athletes like Burduja with the right instinct who can play wherever, Higgins added.

Freshman Kamanakai Paikuli, a forward and midfielder, has already shown his skills with a multiple-goal game against Riverside. Sawyer Williams is a backup goaltender who has filled in a little for Jones. Grant Spangler rounds out the roster of ninth graders who are on varsity.

Medical Lake finished fourth in the regular season and lost a tough 3-2 first-round playoff game to regular-season champ Colville. The Indians and Lakeside still appear to be the teams to beat, Higgins said.

Paul Delaney can be reached at


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