By KEVIN BREIWICK
The Edmonds Community College men’s soccer team has done well in recruiting for this year’s team. Seventeen high schools are represented on the team, including four players from Snohomish High School’s 2000 state championship team.
It’s hard for 11th-year coach Don Nelson to find a weak point on the team. The Tritons are 8-0-0 in the NWAACC Northeast Division after Saturday’s 2-0 victory over Everett CC.
Freshman forward Pat Pollock leads the team with nine goals.
Nelson said the team is at least 17 players deep, and those athletes possess good ball-handling skills.
“People on the field with those skills makes a huge difference,” said Nelson, who is assisted by coach Eddie Fernandez this season.
Freshman goalkeeper Alex Keough (Shorewood) has been the only big setback for the team. Keough dislocated and broke his finger, and Mike Hutchinson (Lynnwood) has stepped up in the net.
“For a college program we’ve been really lucky (with injuries),” Nelson said. “The beauty of being so deep is someone is going to step in.”
After fielding such a talented team this year, Nelson said the team’s next goal is to win the championship.
“I’ve never seen a team this focused,” Nelson said. “It’s pretty clear they know where they want to go.
“They know there’s a lot of work left. We take it one game at a time.”
Nelson believes the second half of the season will give the Tritons new challenges.
“Everyone is going to be looking for us now, Nelson said. “We’re going to have to get a little more creative. … It’s going to be a real test in mental strength.”
Mitalas also runs the state’s largest soccer tournament, the Diadora Cup, which features 200 teams from the United States, Asia and Europe. In addition, Mitalas has a son, former Shorecrest goalkeeper, Brandon who plays soccer for Seattle Pacific University. Add all that to coaching his daughter’s team, too.
“I have a very understanding wife,” Mitalas said.
Mitalas’ eventual goal is to coach at a Division I or II school.
The team has struggled this season with injuries, returning players and lack of recruitment.
“We just lost our whole core of our team (this year),” Aune said. “Last year we won five games, but we were really starting to step up at the end of the season.
“It’s tough when you have to start over like that.”
Aune is looking for the team to improve throughout the season, starting with a higher-caliber team in 2001.
“It’s a tough season for us,” he said. “We have a lot of inexperience, a lot of guys who didn’t play high school ball.”
The team entered this season with three returnees.
Goalkeepers Kyle Langowski (Marysville-Pilchuck High School) and Neal Robison (Snohomish), who Aune calls two of the best in the league, and Steve Chaddock (Jackson), who has scored all of Everett’s goals this season – five.
Though 1-7-1 in the NWAACC, its lone victory coming in a 3-1 decision over Peninsula where Chaddock had a hat trick, the team’s attitude has been a positive.
“They’re giving us everything they got,” Aune said.
“They work hard and have a good attitude, and are looking forward to building towards next year.
“This group of kids I have now, in the four years I’ve been here, they’re the best I’ve had.”
Recruiting has played a part in Everett’s lack of victories. Edmonds had a strong recruiting class, which didn’t help the Trojans much.
“Edmonds really got out and hit it hard, which we’re hoping to do next year,” Aune said.
Aune’s in the process of getting players now, a jump he hopes will pay off.
“We’re getting a jump on next year,” he said.
Aune is also hoping to tempt recruits with a new field or at least “one in the works.”
Everett dropped to 0-8. Edmonds sits alone in second place in the NWAACC … Everett’s volleyball team is 1-7-1 through the weekend … Edmonds’ volleyball team has cruised through the first half of the season, compiling Northern Division record of 4-1. Skagit Valley is in first in the Northern Division with a 5-0 record.
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