Will Archbishop Murphy be able to defend its 2A state soccer championship from 2017? (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Will Archbishop Murphy be able to defend its 2A state soccer championship from 2017? (Kevin Clark / The Herald)

Prep boys soccer preview: 5 storylines to watch

Here are five storylines to watch as the prep boys soccer season unfolds this spring:

1 Glacier Peak, Kamiak seek return trips to 4A state tournament. Glacier Peak, which finished third at last season’s state tourney, has a new coach, with Teddy Mitalas replacing Kyle Veach. The Grizzlies also have the services of returning all-conference players Danny Guerrero, Keegan Rubio and Favi Zenteno. Kamiak, which advanced to the 4A state tournament quarterfinal round in 2017, returns all-conference picks Cade Cooke and Andre’ Hamilton. Mariner finished second in the conference last season and returns all-conference selection Edgar Tavares. Jackson finished fifth in the conference last season but has looked good early this spring, outscoring its opponents 17-0 in its first two games.

2 Snohomish is retooling, but still looks formidable in Wesco 3A. The Panthers, who took second place in last year’s 3A state tournament, lost five all-conference players to graduation, but return all-Wesco 3A picks Adam Kowalchyk, Liam Raney and Conner Smith. “I think Snohomish and Marysville Getchell are the teams to watch out for in Wesco 3A,” said Mountlake Terrace coach George Dremousis, who guided the Hawks to the 2A state tournament semifinals last season. The Chargers will be led by returning all-conference pick Ethan Fuerte. Javier Ramirez of Meadowdale is another player to watch. Shorecrest coach Drew Thompson said, “Snohomish has a good club feeder program and is usually in contention for the league trophy. I think Shorewood will be the most improved team and might make some noise.”

3 Mountlake Terrace’s Bobby Stoyanov is primed for a huge year. Stoyanov was a revelation last spring, tallying 27 goals and 12 assists. “(He’s) arguably the best returning player in the state this season,” Dremousis said. He proved to be worthy of that title March 16, when he tallied seven goals in Mountlake Terrace’s 10-1 win over Granite Falls, setting a new school record.

4 Archbishop Murphy’s dominance will be put to the test. The Wildcats enter this season as three-time defending 2A state champions. But if they are to continue their winning ways this spring, they’ll have to do it with an almost brand-new team; they graduated 13 players off of last year’s roster, including two-time Herald player of the year Matt Williams. “We are trying to hold up the tradition with a young squad,” Archbishop Murphy coach Michael Bartley said, who added that leadership is one of the team’s strengths, with seniors Sam Johnson and Isaac Feeney.

5 The Cascade Conference might be a bit more competitive this year. “Coach Bartley always seems to come up with a talented core and does a superb job coaching,” said South Whidbey coach Emerson Robbins. “Even though Cedarcrest lost two players to academy teams, coach Cesar Sanchez will again have his Red Wolves competing for the league title, and I’d consider them among the favorites coming in.” Top players include Archbishop Murphy’s Johnson and Feeney, Roma Billing of King’s, Sultan’s Freddi Martinez and South Whidbey’s Lake Smith.”The conference also has a extremely talented group of keepers, including Gunnar Morehead of King’s, Connor McCabe of Cedarcrest, Daniel Mycroft of Archbishop Murphy and our own Julian Inches,” Robbins said. “I would guess that this group may be as talented a group of keepers as you’d find in any conference in the state.”

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