By David Krueger Herald Writer
SHORELINE — Archbishop Murphy High School was prepared for Wednesday night.
Both for its soccer game and the postgame celebration.
Wildcats head coach Mike Bartley notched the 400th win of his 25-year coaching career as Archbishop Murphy dispatched a short-handed King’s squad 7-0 at Woolsey Stadium.
After the game, Bartley posed for pictures with his team — who donned specially made shirts for the occasion — and was presented with a plaque commemorating the game
“One guy told me it’s just awesome that I’ve affected so many lives,” Bartley said. “That’s how this is hitting me now. All the lives I’ve been able to touch.”
The win was never really in doubt once Jalen Crisler scored the first goal of the game in the sixth minute and lifted up his jersey to show a white t-shirt and with “400” written across the chest.
“I did not know this was going to happen,” Bartley, who is six games into his first season as the head coach of Archbishop Murphy, said of the postgame celebration and t-shirts. “I’m kind of glad (the 400th win is) over because now we can focus on every game.”
The Wildcat players and Sue Flanigan, the athletic secretary and mother of Archbishop Murphy senior defender Jake Flanigan, had the shirts made to mark the occasion. During the celebration a picture was taken of Bartley, the assistant coaches and all of the players in their “400” shirts.
“They did that on their own,” said Archbishop Murphy athletic director Jerry Zander. “In just the short time he’s been a coach here he’s gotten those boys to rally around him. I know this means a lot to Mike.”
Zander had a plaque made that had an insert for a certificate that was printed out with the opponent and day of the 400th win. He briefly thought about engraving the plaque, but figured he better go the certificate-insert route.
Just in case.
“We were prepared if we were fortunate enough to get the victory,” Zander said. “…If it wasn’t tonight all we had to do was make a new certificate and slide it in. We thought about (engraving it) and thought this would probably be the best solution. We weren’t overly confident enough to engrave anything.”
The head Wildcat began his coaching career when he took over an Eastside Catholic program in 1987 that had one victory in the past three years. Within four years they had a Metro League title. His next stop was in Meadowdale before eventually heading to Jackson when the school opened in 1994. His first few years he coached the boys soccer team, but then switched to girls, which he still coaches in the fall.
“The girls are going to be a little mad at me,” Bartley said with a smile. “They wanted to do this.”
Bartley took the job at Archbishop Murphy because he said he “already knew most of the team.” He knows one player really well: his son, Joshua Bartley, who had two goals in his father’s 400th victory.
“We’re fortunate enough to be able to get him as a coach,” Zander said. “Getting his 400th win tonight shows he’s just fantastic. He’s exactly the kind of person we want as part of Archbishop Murphy High School. He’s a high character guy.
“The kids and the families are ecstatic about what he’s doing.”
What he’s done is help the Wildcats (5-0 league, 6-0 overall) open the season with six straight wins. Archbishop Murphy has not lost a game that Mike Bartley has coached.
In Wednesday’s game, Aidan Huggins scored two goals and Cobi Weyers and Riley Rayner each found the back of the net to round out the scoring for the Wildcats, who led 3-0 at halftime. Jordan Trinka started in goal before Luis Valdes III was subbed in around the 50th minute. Valdes touched the ball once — a goal kick in the game’s final two minutes.
Archbishop Murphy dominated possession over a King’s team that was missing six varsity and nine junior varsity players — who were on various spring break trips — leaving it with just 15 players. The Knights (4-1, 4-1) struggled to get the ball on Murphy’s side of the field, and by the end of the game looked worn out.
King’s goalkeeper Bret Matysik had to defend 25 shots on goal from the Wildcats before being subbed out in the 76th minute. The Knights, on the other had, didn’t have a shot on goal.
“We were very excited to play (King’s),” Bartley said. “We knew it would be a good game. We’re still excited to play them (again). … After the game they said, ‘We’ll see you in a couple weeks.’”
By that point Bartley and the Wildcats could have racked up a few more victories.
Bartley praises his team, which he says is very closely-knit. That, he believes, is a big reason why they’ve had a lot of success on the field.
“They’re pretty close, like a family,” Bartley said. “The team building. That’s a big part of why we have the potential to go to state.”
The Murphy coach doesn’t necessarily want his players to think about that fact a lot. His team has a very focused mentality: treat every game like it’s the 400th.
“We take it one game at a time,” Bartley said. “That’s always been our philosophy.”
At Woolsey Stadium, Shoreline
Goals—Jalen Crisler (AM) 1, Joshua Bartley (AM) 2, Riley Rayner (AM) 1, Aidan Huggins (AM) 2, Cobi Weyers (AM) 1. Assists—Bartley (AM) 1. Goalkeepers—Archbishop Murphy: Jordan Trinka, Luis Valdes III. King’s: Bret Matysik, Daniel Bolliger. Records—Archbishop Murphy 5-0 league, 6-0 overall. King’s 4-1, 4-1.