La Salle's Nichols named NWOC boys soccer Player of the Year
La Salle Prep's Wade Nichols did a little bit of everything for the Falcons' boys soccer team this fall.
The senior co-captain and self-described "field general" was responsible for not only directing traffic, but he also drew many of the toughness one-on-one defensive assignments and played a key role in the Falcons' offense on corner kicks and other set pieces.
Nichols' efforts didn't go unnoticed by Northwest Oregon Conference coach, who named Nichols the league's 2019 Player of the Year after he helped lead the top-ranked Falcons to a second consecutive NWOC championship.
"I respect all the coaches for voting for me," Nichols said. "I worked hard in a more defensive position and scored quite a few goals, so I had a good time back there."
Nichols was joined on the all-league first team by teammates Karter Cook, Ethan Shea, Luke Strange, and Noa Taylor. La Salle's Mizael Harris and Spencer Schuh earned second-team honors, and Sky Charley-Bolyard and Quintin Castner received honorable mention.
"I always feel like I could put a couple more guys on that list and maybe move them up a little bit here and there, but I'm sure every coach feels that way," Falcons coach Seth Altshuler said. "I think Wade Nichols was without a doubt the Player of the Year and I think everybody else was given due credit in some capacity, so I'm good with the selections."
Cook, Nichols, Strange, and Taylor all earned first-team honors for the second season in a row. All four were in the conversation for Player of the Year, but Nichols earned the nod based on two key factors, according to his coach.
"Consistency and goals," Altshuler said "I mean, it's one thing to be that dominant as a player. It's a whole other thing to add goals as a stopper. He had 11 goals this year and they were not against St. Helens. They were against Corvallis, they were against Centennial ... they were in big games.
"This is the guy who has changed enough of our games this season to where he's just separated himself as a young leader. Those other names (Cook, Strange, and Taylor) do come up and they should come up. But in the face of all that, the guy who has been there every time, every game has been Wade."
Nichols and the Falcons closed out the season with a 2-1 victory over NWOC-rival Wilsonville in the OSAA 5A boys soccer championship game at Hillsboro Stadium, capping a 17-0-1 season to clinch their sixth state title in school history and first since 2009.
"Wade was technically a midfielder for us, but it was a defensive position," Altshuler said. "A lot of what we did went through him. He also marked out team's better players in the air, he was dangerous on corner kicks, he was very technical, and he added a level of composure to our midfield that really helped."
Putnam senior forward Steve Sanchez and junior midfielder Eduardo Gutierrez also was named to the all-league first team, while Milwaukie junior defender Alex Valyavskiy received second-team recognition.
Wilsonville's Ian Reschke was honored as the NWOC's boys soccer Coach of the Year after leading the Wildcats (6-1) to a second-place finish behind the Falcons (7-0).
On the girls' side, Wilsonville sophomore forward Lindsey Antonson was a unanimous choice as the NWOC's Player of the Year after the Wildcats went undefeated in league play for the second season in a row.
Putnam senior midfielder Sasha Stumpf and La Salle Prep sophomore defender Kate Collins also landed on the all-league first team, and Scappoose's Summer Jark was recognized as Coach of the Year.
NORTHWEST OREGON CONFERENCE
Player of the Year: Wade Nichols, jr., La Salle Prep
Coach of the Year: Ian Reschke, Wilsonville
Noa Taylor, jr., La Salle Prep
Luke Strange, sr., La Salle Prep
Steve Sanchez, sr., Putnam
Adam Landy, jr., Wilsonville
Chance Saechao, sr., Hillsboro
Karter Cook, sr., La Salle Prep
Ethan Shea, sr., La Salle Prep
Jared Reodriuez, jr., Parkrose
Eduardo Gutierrez, jr., Putnam
Sam Blohn, sr., Wilsonville
Josh Diaz Sanchez, jr., Hillsboro
Wade Nichols, jr., La Salle Prep
Jared Armenta, fr., Parkrose
Ryan McCord, sr., Wilsonville
Pablo Mendoza Osornia, sr., Hillsboro
Forwards: Gaby Tena Palomares, sr., Hillsboro, Teegan Bond, sr., Scappoose; Elijah Powlison, sr., Wilsonville. Midfielders: Jonathan Verdis, sr., Hillsboro; Mizael Harris, soph., La Salle Prep; Jake Boyle, sr., Scappoose; Angel Ulloa Romero, sr., Wilsonville; Matthew Little, sr., Wilsonville. Defenders: Christopher Abad, soph., Hillsboro; Spencer Schuh, sr., La Salle Prep; Alex Valyavskiy, jr., Milwaukie; Joseph Friedman, soph., Wilsonville. Goalkeeper: George Krecklow, jr., Wilsonville.
Forwards: Arthur Katahdin, sr., Milwaukie; Roman Quick, jr., Putnam; Weston Gonrowski, sr., Scappoose; Kaleb Edwards, jr., St. Helens. Midfielders: Sky Charley-Bolyard, sr., La Salle Prep; Jonathan Salazar, jr., Milwaukie; Pablo Hernandez, sr., Parkrose; Briggs Priem, soph., Putnam; D.J. Backus, sr., Scappoose; Corbin Edson, sr., Scappoose; Matteo Da Re, sr., St. Helens. Defenders: Axel Cacho, sr., Milwaukie; Noe Barahona, sr., Parkrose; Travis Berg, jr., Putnam; Jimmy Lopez, sr., St. Helens; Michael Aguilar-Rose, sr., St. Helens; Daniel Espinoza, sr., Wilsonville; Cameron Zundel, sr., Milwaukie. Goalkeepers: Quintin Castner, sr., La Salle Prep; Evan Hernandez, jr., Parkrose; Daniel Wilson, sr., Putnam; Dimitri Vanderhoef, sr., Scappoose; Andrew Worlitz, fr., St. Helens.
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