Story and photo by Doug Petrowski
Losing games and losing teammates to injuries can put a strain any team; the Mountlake Terrace boys soccer team is a prime example of that, as the squad limps into its final week of the 2013 season low on poise and confidence.
The Hawks hit the road to face the Glacier Peak Grizzlies on Monday, April 29, at 7:30 p.m., then take on the Shorecrest Scots in their season finale on Wednesday, May 1, 7:30 p.m., at Shoreline Stadium.
After an encouraging 1-0-1 start, Terrace has lost 11 of 12 matches, including their last seven in a row. “I can tell you that our team is very disheartened,” said senior goalkeeper Aidan Murray. “Right now, the morale of our team is pretty low.”
The Hawks are 1-10 in Wesco league play, 2-11-1 overall.
While the team is relatively healthy for their final week of play, they have struggled with fielding a consistent starting line-up throughout the season. “Injuries have taken their toll on most of our starting 11, so we have (had) to compensate for them with other players that might not necessarily fit into our formation,” Murray explained.
The many lineup changes and mounting losses have hurt the team emotionally, Murray added, citing “complacency in our games and a lackadaisical attitude; basically (we) won’t try and will give up as soon as we get scored on.”
The team has been scored on plenty in 2013; Terrace gives up an average of 2.5 goals per game, while averaging less than a goal per game themselves. Murray has recorded two shutouts this year, a 1-0 Hawk victory over Everett on April 3 and a 2-0 win over Sammamish in the opening game of the season.
Head Coach Gary Hunter has tried to keep the team focused despite all its struggles, an effort not unnoticed by Murray. “I’m not disappointed with the coaching staff at all,” he said. “It’s a rebuilding season, which means we have to take a young team with little experience and shape them into a cohesive unit, which takes time.”
“And our coach is doing his best with what he has,” Murray added.
Adding to the challenges for the Hawks has been a Wesco 3A South conference full of strong competition. First-place Shorewood has just one loss and one draw in 13 matches; Glacier Peak is 8-2-1 in league play, and Shorecrest has lost just twice this season. All three are expected to make big runs in the postseason, an opportunity that Terrace will not have. The Hawks’ season will end on Wednesday.
Murray hasn’t finalized his plans after his playing days with Terrace are through. “I just got an offer to walk-on to Saint Martin’s University (Lacey) and play,” the senior stated. He also has been offered a four-year Army ROTC scholarship to consider. “Next year is unknown to me,” he said.
Prospects for next year’s Terrace boys soccer team are a mystery also, as the squad will be losing six players to graduation in June and this year’s backup keeper, James Poellinger, is only a sophomore.