Junpei Tsuji’s leadership earns player of the year honors

June 1, 2010

A soccer player doesn’t always have to score a ton of goals to get noticed by opposing players and coaches.

Junpei Tsuji

Sometimes, just his leadership qualities on the field are enough to earn praise. Certainly, 4A KingCo Conference coaches were impressed by Issaquah High School senior Junpei Tsuji’s inspired efforts this spring.

While Tsuji was a scoring threat, it was his leadership that led to his selection as the league’s Player of the Year.

“When you consider all the outstanding players in the league, this was a great honor for Junpei and great recognition for our program,” said Issaquah coach Jason Lichtenberger. “I think he was probably surprised by the honor.

“Yet, when coaches talked about a player who played hard in every game, Junpei was the guy they talked about,” he added. “They said what a great leader he was on the field. Junpei was always encouraging his teammates.”

Tsuji, a midfielder, helped the Eagles be a contender for the league title this season. Issaquah finished just one point out of first place.

“He is a talented player. He makes a lot of things happen. He does a good job of getting the ball to his teammates. More than anything, he just worked his tail off for 80 minutes in every game,”

Lichtenberger said.

In practice, teammates always compared their shirts to see who worked the hardest.

“Junpei always had the sweatiest shirt,” Lichtenberger said.

Tsuji is bound for Whitman College, where he will play soccer with Issaquah teammate Mike Axelson next year.

Issaquah, with back-to-back winning seasons for the first time in several years, has had the league’s MVP the last two years. Quinn Grisham, a senior, was selected as the league MVP last year. Grisham, despite missing some games this season because of injuries and illness, joined Tsuji on the all-KingCo first team. Read more

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Issaquah Eagles baseball ties Bothell

April 28, 2010

NEW — 11:11 April 28, 2010

The Issaquah High School boys soccer team fought first-place Bothell to a scoreless standstill Tuesday in a 4A KingCo Conference defensive battle.

Goalkeeper Evan King recorded the shutout for the Eagles, who are 5-2-1 in league play and tied with Roosevelt for fourth place.

Skyline jumped ahead of Issaquah in the jam-packed KingCo standings with a 5-1 rout of Ballard. Cole Calabro scored two goals for Skyline. Goals by Giancarlo Santoro and Braxton Griffin gave the Spartans a 2-0 halftime lead. Ballard scored in the first minute of the second half but Pedro Miola answered for Skyline.

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Skyline High School Spartans move into first place

April 14, 2010

NEW — 10:48 a.m. April 14, 2010

Travis Strawn scored two goals Tuesday as he led the Skyline High School boys soccer team to a 2-0 4A KingCo Conference victory against host Roosevelt.

With the victory, Skyline boosted its league record to 4-1-0 and moved into first place. Roosevelt dropped out of the top spot and into a tie with Issaquah for second place.

The victory was Skyline’s third straight.

Issaquah rallied for a 3-2 victory against visiting Ballard. Michael Axelson, assisted by Michael Roberts, scored the winning goal at the 79th minute. Carter Mitchell and Lucas Morais scored Issaquah’s other goals. The Eagles are 3-1-1 in league play.

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Liberty can’t keep up with Mount Si

April 6, 2010

During an evening of heavy rain and wind April 2, the Liberty High School boys soccer team fell to Mount Si 4-0 in 3A/2A KingCo Conference play.

Despite numerous shots on goal, the Patriots could not seem to get the ball past Mount Si’s 6-foot-7-inch goalkeeper Ryan Herman.

Mount Si also boasted a powerful offense, which first struck at eight minutes with a goal from Chace Carlson.

Following Carlson’s goal, both teams launched numerous shots. Liberty’s Dean Byron rocketed two shots that missed left and a third that was saved. Mount Si’s Dyson Fowler finally connected on a goal at 33 minutes. Read more

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Mercer Island’s powerhouse boys soccer squad blanks Liberty, 3-0

March 30, 2010

Hayden Meriweather, Liberty senior forward, takes a shot on goal as Max Kearfott of Mercer Island defends in the second period of their March 26 soccer match. The Islanders won, 3-0. — By Greg Farrar

Mercer Island’s powerhouse boys soccer squad blanks Liberty, 3-0

The Liberty High School boys soccer team fell to perennial KingCo Conference power Mercer Island 3-0 March 26. The loss brings Liberty’s record to 3-2 and marks the first at-home loss of the season.

Mercer Island came out with guns blazing to start the game, charging down field and scoring at seven minutes. Mercer Island continued to charge, but Liberty’s defense prevented several shots on goal, thanks to fine defense from players including Jay Haberman and Dean Byron.

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Issaquah looks to improve 2009’s surprise success

March 23, 2010

Soccer preview

Quinn Grisham, of Issaquah, leaps up to plant his head on the soccer ball during a match in April 2009. By Greg Farrar

The Issaquah High School boys soccer team was one of the biggest surprises in the 4A KingCo Conference last spring. Issaquah, an also-ran the previous year, reached the state playoffs for the first time.

The Eagles, however, are not satisfied with last season. They have even higher goals for this spring.

“The team wants to win the league title, and even the state championship,” Issaquah coach Jason Lichtenberger said.

But getting through the rugged KingCo could be a challenge. Read more

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