Experience bolsters Kamiak’s postseason prospects | Boys soccer

Knights return 10 seniors and a strong junior class
By David Pan | Apr 03, 2019
Photo by: David R Pan Kamiak senior Noah Venditto scored his team’s first goal to help lead the Knights to a 3-1 victory over Mariner Monday, April 1, at Kamiak High School.

The Kamiak boys soccer team appears to have all the pieces needed to make a strong run in the Wesco 4A.

The Knights return a 10-member senior class and a solid junior group that includes honorable mention, all-league goalkeeper Connor Bourne.

“The nucleus of the team is back,” Kamiak coach Kosta Pitharoulis said. “We have high expectations for these guys.”

Senior co-captain/forward Harrison Rohrbough, another honorable mention selection, likes what he’s seen from the Knights, who improved to 4-1 in the league after a 3-1 victory over district rival Mariner Monday, April 1, at Kamiak High School.

“We have some good talent here on the team,” Rohrbough said.

The Knights also posted victories over Cascade (4-2), Glacier Peak (1-0), and Monroe (4-1). The lone loss was 1-0 to Lake Stevens.

What Knights need to continue to do, Rohrbough said, is gel as team.

“Once we get the chemistry going, I think we can put together a pretty good run this year,” Rohrbough said. “Hopefully, we can go far.”

Kamiak senior co-captain Noah Venditto scored in the 11th minute and freshman Aidan Drought gave the Knights a 2-0 lead over the Marauders in the 15th minute.

Mariner senior Edgar Guzman cut the deficit to 2-1 on a free kick in the 28th minute after a foul was called on the Knights.

“It’s unfortunate that the penalty happened, which allowed them to get on the board,” Pitharoulis said. “We put ourselves in that position to have that call. … We can’t give them those opportunities, those gifts.”

The Marauders threatened to tie the score – both in the remainder of the first half and at times in the second half.

“I think when you score that early and in multiples then you kind of start to sit back a little bit,” Pitharoulis said. “We let their pace kind of get to us instead of playing our game. They play hard and fast like they always do.”

Kamiak junior Jackson Erickson scored with about two minutes left in the game to seal the victory.

“There was some confusion at times that we caused ourselves rather than just communicating really well as a team and working together,” Pitharoulis said.

Kamiak needed to retool its defense after the graduation of first-team defender Cade Cooke and teammate Joshua Pang.

The return of Bourne is helping the Knights.

“We trust him back there,” said senior co-captain/defender Connor Ruis. “He’s able to make good saves.”

Ruis also is back as one of the center backs in the defense.

Senior defender Venditto has shifted from outside back to a center back.

The midfield also brings back some experience with juniors Joe Condit and Kaydin Wall, who are joined by newcomers Ahmed Elsir, Alexandre Hristov, Jonathan Passey and Erickson.

Up front, forward Drought already has shown he has the skills to be an impact player as a freshman.

Drought scored the game-winner against the Grizzlies and also posted goals aganst Cascade and Monroe. He also had two scores in a nonconference win over Edmonds-Woodway.

The challenge many freshmen face, Pitharoulis said, is getting accustomed to the speed of the varsity game.

“Aiden’s done a great job,” the Kamiak coach said. “He got acclimated quickly. He knows a bunch of the guys through club soccer, so that was an easy transition as far as that goes.

“He’s a real competitor, so that bodes well. He’s not intimidated out there and I think that happens sometimes when you’re the freshman on the team. This year we have just one.”

Kamiak’s only league loss to Lake Stevens, was due to some confusion on a corner kick.

The Knights weren’t as organized as they need to be, Pitharoulis said.

“It’s still early in the season, so we’re working out some bugs,” he added. “We had some opportunities. Lake Stevens came up big in those moments and unfortunately, it was too little, too late. The guys really wanted that one.”

Rohrbough said that the Knights learned some lessons from the early season loss.

“We just weren’t clicking chemistry-wise,” he said. “We didn’t exactly know where each other was going to be. I think that can be fixed pretty easily down the line. … Once we get a few more games under our belt we’ll start figuring things out.”

Ruis agrees that the Knights still need to work on communication.
“We need to get everyone on the same page,” he said. “That’s the biggest thing we’re working on. Once we get that, I think we’ll be really good this year.”

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