Woodinville soccer: Disappointing season strengthens resolve

  • Written by Derek Johnson Sports Writer
Photo courtesy of Nathan Davis
Back in March, for a fleeting moment, Nathan Davis felt optimistic about his team’s chances this season. It’s been his first year at Woodinville, serving as co-coach and joining forces with longtime Falcon fixture Sully Hester.

The boys soccer team was opening up conference play against Issaquah, and on this night, everything clicked.

Late in the game, the score was knotted at 0-0. Time was short and tension mounting. Suddenly, Woodinville’s Mesfin Symons broke free with the ball down the right side of the field before encountering pressure from an Issaquah defender.

Symons rounded the defender near the end line and spied teammate Ionatan Kuperwajs breaking free toward the front of the goal. Symons kicked the ball to Kuperwajs, who booted the ball into the net for what proved to be the game-winning score.

Woodinville players and fans celebrated loudly on the home field. Davis clapped his hands excitedly and felt the adrenaline rush. This was a big victory over a respected opponent. Maybe, just maybe, this team’s turnaround could come faster than thought.

The win jettisoned Woodinville to a 1-0 conference record.

But the elation proved short-lived. From that point forward, it was a long season but a short story.

The Falcons went in the tank and hopes for a winning season quickly faded from view.

Now, as they prepare to close out their season April 30th against Newport, Woodinville finds itself 2-7 in conference play and 2-11 overall.

“I didn’t have expectations going into the season,” Davis reflected recently. “I wanted to see the talent we had and see where our strengths and weaknesses were and try to address those. When I did get here, from the talent we had I was very impressed. After about 2-3 weeks of practices and tryouts, I had high expectations, but as you can tell from our record things have not panned out for us this year.

“The surprise has been our lack of production as far as goals go. We have a lot of talented offensive players, don’t get me wrong. But this year in KingCo, from Skyline all the way to Bothell, these teams have very stingy defenses. Unfortunately, we haven’t scored as many goals as we should have, and we’ve let a couple goals in we shouldn’t have. The chemistry also wasn’t there at some points, and three of our seniors were injured the majority of the season. So unfortunately, we haven’t gotten as many wins as needed.”

When asked about silver linings amid the gray cloud of a losing season, Davis was quick to point out his appreciation for the way his players have stayed upbeat and continued to work hard.

“Michael Aldrich is a captain and also deserves mention,” he said. “He’s just been one of those kids I look to who has the right mindset. Sometimes as a coach you can get down with your record and your attitude, but Michael has been a positive person on our team, encouraging everyone from the young sophomores all the way up to the fellow captains on the team. He’s been a real bright spot for us and is going to be missed next year for sure.”

Speaking of next year, Davis cited two young up and comers. “Trevor Dickie and Tate Nordhoy are real talented young players, very physical and smart. I think they’re going to do very well for us in the future ... I definitely can see us gelling next season.

“This team can take this season one of two ways,” Davis concluded. “They can either hold onto it through the off-season and come back next year expecting another long season of losses. Or they can do what I expect them to do, knowing these boys and their good attitudes, is that they can shake it off and use it as motivation and come back for a winning season next year.

“We’re going to talk about it. I’m not going to shy away from this season’s record. I’m going to point out what our weaknesses were and we’re going to try to improve every single day — and I think they will.”

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