Sports

Marysville soccer looks to continue state streak

Marysville-Pilchuck junior Anthony Johnson keeps possession of the ball during a two-touch drill. - Travis Sherer
Marysville-Pilchuck junior Anthony Johnson keeps possession of the ball during a two-touch drill.
— image credit: Travis Sherer

MARYSVILLE — The pressure is off the Tomahawks this year on the pitch.

Despite the fact that Marysville-Pilchuck’s boys soccer team will try to earn its fourth consecutive state berth this year, coach Geoff Kittle believes that there isn’t as much attention on his team.

“We don’t have a lot of the all stars like we have had the last couple of years,” he said. “But we have enough talent on the field to make up for that.”

The Tommies graduated 10 seniors last year, including six that were named to all-league teams and the Wesco North’s most valuable player, Brady Ballew.

“That was a solid group,” said Kittle. “But we bring back a lot of kids that are ready to work and learn as a team — that’s what I’m the most excited about.”

Leading the way for the Tommies will be a pair of key returners in junior Anthony Johnson at midfield or forward and senior Kyle Bluhm at goalkeeper.

Johnson showed flashes of brilliance last year on the offensive end and could been seen this year as the most capable to put the ball in the back of the net.

But that one striker capable of scoring at a moment’s notice will be something M-P will search for this season, and Kittle is optimistic.

“I think we’ll be able to play solid defense and maintain possession,” he said. “And if we can do those things, we’ll find the back of the net enough to be successful. We have a solid start to the defense with some dependable goal-keeping.”

Last season the Tommies finished in the Class 4A state quarterfinal, losing 2-0 to eventual State Champion Stadium. Their record was 13-6-1 overall.

“The way I see it, we only lost to two teams last  year, the eventual state champion, and the runner-up,” said Kittle about Stadium and league rival Lake Stevens. “Every other team we played, we beat at least once.”

Lake Stevens has been M-P’s nemesis, as it’s the only team the Tommies haven’t been able to defeat in the last three years in conference, so naturally Kittle sees them as the team to beat.

“Lake Stevens didn’t lose much last year and brings back a number of guys,” he said. “But we also haven’t lost to Snohomish in the last two years, and we’d like to keep that streak going.”

M-P begins its season at Eastlake High School, March 15.

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