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Spring prep preview: Oak Harbor soccer
The Oak Harbor High School soccer team returned to the playoffs last spring for only the second time since 1994. The Wildcats can return this season if they "win one game at a time," according to coach Brian Thompson.
It will also be necessary, he added, for his team to "learn from each game to make us better" and "for each player to see the importance of grades, being a team and how important their role on the team is to our success."
Winning matches and reaching the postseason is certainly attainable since Oak Harbor returns 10 lettermen, including eight seniors: Danny Ross (midfielder), Chase Muller (defender), Gavin Stewart (midfielder), Caley Powers (forward), Alex Krantz (midfielder), Andrew Mitchell (midfielder), Ben McCornack (defender) and Kevin Silveira (goalkeeper).
Also back are junior Dakota Powers (midfielder) and sophomore Garth Wescott (defender).
The senior class is deep in experience and talent. Six lettered as freshmen and five – Muller, McCornack, Stewart, Caley Powers and Silveira – were second-team, all-league selections last season.
A key newcomer, according to Thompson, is junior Taylor Yancy (midfielder/defender), a transfer from Boston.
"He will be a great addition to the team," Thompson said. "He has good vision on the field and the foot skills needed to play any position as a starter."
The strength of the team, Thompson said, is the senior core and the leadership they provide and the goals they have set.
The team's weaknesses, Thompson said, are the lack of physical fitness on some players and some not playing club ball, thus being rusty.
"Being fit and having the foot skills, passing and trapping ability are key to our success," he said.
Oak Harbor isn't alone in the talent department in the Western Conference, according to Thompson. He expects all the teams in the North to be strong and evenly matched.
The Wildcats host Bellingham in a non-league match at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 18.