Skyline goes undefeated into Kingco championship

April 30, 2013

By Lillian O'Rorke

The undefeated Skyline High School boys soccer team continued its perfect season and secured a spot in the KingCo championship game by shutting out Eastlake, 4-0, April 23.

“I thought we did well, and possessed the ball and made them work hard. When they made mistakes, we took advantage of them,” Skyline coach Don Braman said. “It’s going to be a tough road ahead of us, but the nice thing is we have worked hard to put ourselves in a good position.”

By Greg Farrar Kaleb Strawn (lower left), Skyline High School senior midfielder, slides in to break up the attempt by Eastlake senior midfielder Jack Bradley (15) to get control of the ball from sophomore midfielder David Kim (4) during the first period.

By Greg Farrar
Kaleb Strawn (lower left), Skyline High School senior midfielder, slides in to break up the attempt by Eastlake senior midfielder Jack Bradley (15) to get control of the ball from sophomore midfielder David Kim (4) during the first period.

The Spartans seized on the opportunity to score early in the game when senior Ryan Shim scored off a corner kick by his fellow classmate, Kaleb Strawn in the eighth minute.

“It was a good thing,” Braman said about Shim’s goal. “He’s a real intelligent player, and we like getting him up field on those corners because he promises he’ll score.”

That was Strawn’s sixth assist of the season. He added one more 30 minutes later, and brought the score to 2-0 when sophomore Sean Curtis scored a header off Strawn’s free kick. Now ranked third in the KingCo 4A league, the midfielder also has seven goals.

“He is just really crazy good. He had one of the best goals I’ve ever seen against Garfield,” Braman said. “He’s so good and he is a lot of fun to coach.”

Securing Skyline the shutout for the first half was goalkeeper Zach Anselmi, who chased down and body blocked an attack by Eastlake’s senior forward Max Zambrowsky in the first minutes of the game.

“It feels good when you have to make a save early on, because that can determine the outcome of the game sometimes,” Anselmi said.

He foiled another attempt midway through the first half when Jack Bradley caught the ball on a bounce for a volley and fired it for Eastlake straight into Anselmi.

“I like seeing our team play well,” he said, explaining that Skyline came in with the wrong attitude but quickly adjusted it for the win. “A lot of times, we focus on the outcome and we don’t play that well. But, we played well.”

Skyline secured a tight grip on its lead when, fresh from halftime, senior forward Bradley Rustik scored off a cross ball from sophomore Garrett Strawn.

“It’s hard. You have those years where it doesn’t matter, the ball just doesn’t bounce your way. And, this is one of those years,” Eastlake coach Adam Gervis said. “Skyline did very well. They were good. They were very organized. They played nice soccer. They worked the ball around. Their set pieces are well contrived, and they took their breaks and they played with confidence. And, that’s the difference.”

The Spartans’ final goal was unassisted and came from an unexpected source. Senior midfielder Nick Brice had not logged near as much time on the field as some of his other classmates when, with less than nine minutes left in the game, he zipped by two defenders and fired the ball into the top left corner of Eastlake’s goal.

“It was excellent, and a great reward for a kid who works real hard,” Braman said. “That was really a good pick up for the team, and I really feel like he is doing a lot of really good things to help us. And, it’s just a simple reminder of how deep a team we are.”

As of April 24, Skyline was leading KingCo with an 8-0 record. It is still unclear whom the Spartans will face in the KingCo title game.

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