Boys soccer preview: Five players to watch

Blake Crutchfield

Defender | Jr. | Snohomish

A first-team All-Wesco and All-Area defender as a sophomore, Crutchfield returns to a Panthers team that placed fourth in last year’s 4A state tournament. Snohomish head coach Dan Pingrey said Crutchfield is a “solid ball winner who can distribute well and actively gets involved in the offense.” Crutchfield is also known for his long throw that has accounted for numerous assists in his high-school career. Crutchfield is a captain for the Panthers this season and Pingrey relies on him for leadership on and off the field.

Zach Bush

Defender | Sr. | Kamiak

Bush was a first-team All-Wesco forward for the Knights a season ago, but under new head coach Kosta Pitharoulis, Bush has been asked to switch to defense.

“He’s adjusted really well,” Pitharoulis said. “It’s brand new to him so there’s been a lot of conversation as well as practice. He’s done a really good job back there soaking all the information in and really learning.”

With many more players trying out at forward than defense, Pitharoulis saw an opportunity to help the team out and Bush welcomed the change.

“I think overall he’s a team player and he wants the team to do well, so if there was any fear of the position change he certainly didn’t let on to it.”

Ryan Spiva

Goalkeeper | Sr. | Marysville Pilchuck

Though Spiva split time at goalkeeper and outside midfielder last season for the Tomahawks, he was named a first-team all-league goalkeeper. Marysville Pilchuck head coach Paul Bartley said he expects Spiva to play goalkeeper much more this season. Spiva spends his springs on the soccer team, but can be found kicking footballs for the Tomahawks in the fall as the team’s placekicker. Bartley said football has helped Spiva stretch his kicking out nearly 20 yards from where he started as a freshman.

“I think it’s made him a more accurate kicker,” Bartley said.

Marysville Pilchuck finished fourth in the Wesco 3A North a year ago and was quickly eliminated in the district tournament. With Spiva in goal, the Tomahawks have aspirations to do bigger and better things this Spring.

“I believe that the sky is the limit for him if he actually wanted to focus in on soccer,” Bartley said. “He’s a great leader. I think that we’re going to win the (Wesco) North and I think he’s going to be the main reason that we do it.”

Tristan Springer

Midfielder | Sr. | Meadowdale

Meadowdale coach Wade Foley has been able to count on Springer be a leader since his freshman season and this season won’t be any different as the Mavericks reach for their team goal of advancing to the state tournament.

“He’ll do anything it takes to win a game,” Foley said of Springer. “He takes it on his shoulders to really lead the team.”

Springer was a first-team All-Wesco midfielder a season ago, but the Mavericks were eliminated from the district tournament in two games. Foley said this team is more mature and he expects it to be in a position to advance out of districts this season. Springer’s leadership and play on the field will go a long way toward achieving that goal.

“I really look to him to be the glue in the middle,” Foley said. He’ll collect and distribute the ball. His vision on the field is second to none. If you want to look to a player you can look to him because he’s the guy who’s going to go get the balls.”

Randy Anaya

Midfielder | Sr. | Lakewood

Anaya’s speed and ability to catch defenses off guard are his biggest strengths and should give the opponents fits in his senior season.

“As a player the best word to describe him is explosive,” Lakewood head coach Bryce Barker said. “He can go from zero to 100 in just a split-second. That’s how he capitalized on quite a bit of his goals last year.”

The Cougars finished fourth in the Cascade Conference a year ago and lost several seniors off that team. Anaya, who was a first-team all-league forward a year ago, will be relied on for his versatility this year.

“His athleticism and knowledge of the game makes him a very versatile player for us,” Barker said.

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