Wildcats, Crusaders head all-Metro boys soccer selections
The near-perfect season with one of the best teams the Metro League has seen in the last decade ended with a Class 6A state championship and all sorts of accolades for the Westview boys soccer squad.
There were thirteen regular season wins and a co-Metro crown, thanks to a free-flowing, pass-heavy, scoring-laden offense that was more EA Sports' FIFA World Cup '18 than any high school match you'll observe. The Wildcats went unscathed through the postseason. Defense wins championships and it certainly had a huge hand in helping Westview beat Grant in the semis and shut out Jesuit in the title bout 2-0.
It was a storybook campaign and now the Wildcats are reaping the rewards.
Senior midfielder Zach Velasco was named Metro Player of the Year, manning a midfield that essentially had two field generals on the pitch at all times along with senior Alex Monroy. They were Westview's table setters, exquisite passers who could funnel the ball to the Wildcat forwards for shots or put the ball in the net themselves. Westview senior defender Dane Kiger also was named first-team all-Metro. He had arguably his best game in the state title against Jesuit, chipping in to slow Cesar Cruz and Seifu Zerabruk in the final third of the field.
Liam, Dane Kiger's brother, made the all-Metro first team, too, as one of the best finishers and passers not just in the conference, but the state as a whole. Senior captain Nick Younkins said Liam Kiger was "the best player on the field" versus Jesuit in the state title game after the forward scored Westview's second goal on a header. Westview senior goalie Broden Schull garnered first-team all-Metro honors for his work between the posts. In the 6A second round against Sunset, Schull stopped two huge second-half shots as the Apollos tried to mount an eleventh-hour surge to secure a 4-3 win over their Metro counterpart. Schull also was one of the best goal kickers in the land, with a huge right leg that could launch 50-yard punts that parachuted into Westview's side of the field and triggered the offense at times.
Rookie head coach Jon Fresh took the Wildcats from a second round-and-out contender to state champions in one season. He was named Metro League Coach of the Year.
Jesuit, who split the Metro title with Westview after the two frenemies tied 1-1 in the regular season, had equally as many first-team selections. Zerabruk, Cruz, junior goalie Nolan Aylward and senior midfielder Cobi Hughes were each awarded first-team honors. Zerabruk and Cruz carried Jesuit's offense for stretches. Each scored crucial goals in the postseason. Aylward played outstanding against South Eugene in the 6A semis, making a fistful of unnerving saves throughout. Hughes toggled between offensive playmaker and defensive dynamo.
Alongside the long list of Wildcats and Crusaders are Aloha senior forward Ismael Vara and Beaverton senior forward Cristian Hernandez. Vara helped the Warriors reach the 6A quarterfinals, upsetting two higher ranked opponents along the way. Hernandez was a true handful, a crafty, quick, sure-footed forward with a heavy, accurate right foot and excellent finishing ability.
Monroy, Younkins and Jonathan Gutierrez-Saucedo headed the all-Metro second team. Gutierrez-Saucedo was one of the state's leading scorers who put home two goals against Sunset in the second round. Sunset senior Elijah White and Sunset junior Cole Rogers made the all-Metro second team despite missing most of conference play due to injury. When healthy, few players made bigger impacts and contributions. Sunset sophomore Ellis Harwood and junior goalie Kellen Guillion were also second-team picks along with Southridge junior Ryan Wallace and Southridge senior Jacob Hamada. Aloha senior Omar Bernal bagged a second-team all-Metro honor as well.
Jesuit senior Ben Scott and Southridge junior Keri Zhou were honorable mention all-Metro.