Prep Soccer

Boys' soccer 2018: Teams, players to watch

Area field includes 13 all-staters and two defending state championship teams

Iowa City Regina's Nick Pechous (10) celebrates a goal against Davenport Assumption in the first half of the Class 1A championship at the boys state soccer tournament at Cownie Soccer Park in Des Moines on Saturday, June 3, 2017. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
Iowa City Regina's Nick Pechous (10) celebrates a goal against Davenport Assumption in the first half of the Class 1A championship at the boys state soccer tournament at Cownie Soccer Park in Des Moines on Saturday, June 3, 2017. (Liz Martin/The Gazette)
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Here are The Gazette-area teams and players to watch during the 2018 boys’ soccer season.

Teams

(2017 record; postseason finish)

Benton Community (16-5; 2A substate finalist)Coach Will Stockman and the Bobcats were a win away from their first state-tournament appearance last season. If Benton is to break through this year, seniors Vance Bartelt (11 goals, 18 assists) and Justice Lamer (15 goals, three assists) will have to replace the graduation loss of Patrick Michael, who was fourth in the state with 34 goals last season.

Cedar Rapids Prairie (19-1; 3A state quarterfinalist) Coach Curt Lewis has led Prairie to the Class 3A state tournament twice in three years, the only two appearances in school history. Seniors Matt Walter (16 goals), Boston Riley (seven goals) and Chase Harrison (seven shutouts in 10 starts at goalkeeper) and junior Mateus Lewis (10 goals, eight assists) return from a team that started 19-0, won the MVC Valley Division and was ranked No. 1 for the final four weeks of the regular season.

Cedar Rapids Washington (10-8; 3A substate semifinalist) Washington has two Class 3A first team all-state returners in senior defender Andrew Hammer (six goals, five assists) and junior midfielder Keaton Woods (16 goals, nine assists). Coach J.P. Graham has led the Warriors to the state tournament in seven of the last 12 years, but were bounced in the substate semifinals last season.

Cedar Rapids Xavier (14-5; 2A state runner-up) The Saints have qualified for the state tournament nine years in a row under Coach Amir Hadzic. Senior midfielders Thomas Bean (21 goals, 16 assists) and Will Hanigan (six goals, six assists in eight games) were both named to the 2A all-state team and will lead the attack for the defending MVC Mississippi Division champions.

Clear Creek Amana (11-7; substate finalist)The Clippers were a win away from a berth in the Class 2A state tournament last season. Coach Tim Benson returns two of his three top scorers last season in junior Mitch Evans (11 goals) and sophomore Trevor King (seven goals, three assists).

Dyersville Beckman (19-2; 1A state third place) Coach Mirek Laskowski and the Blazers finished third in Class 1A last season, their sixth state-tournament appearance in a row that included consecutive titles from 2015-16. Seniors Jaden Recker (eight goals) and Drew Boekholder (seven goals, three assists) will be needed to overcome the graduation losses that equated to 54 goals.

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Iowa City High (16-4; 3A state quarterfinalist)Coach Jose Michel Fajardo and the Little Hawks were ranked in the top four in all but two weeks during last season and have qualified for the 3A state tournament six years in a row. Five City High returners scored at least five goals last season, including first team all-MVC honoree Jonah Dancer (nine goals) and Drake signee Jackson Meyer.

Iowa City Regina (16-5; 1A state champion)The Regals won their sixth state title in nine years last season, and Coach Rich Larew has led Regina to the state tournament in every year over the last decade. Class 1A first team all-state selection Nick Pechous and junior Kieler Brown combined for 30 goals last season.

Iowa City West (13-7; 3A state champion) The Trojans won their state-best ninth state title last year with a team that lost seven games and was seeded eighth in the 3A bracket. Coach Brad Stiles lost 75 percent of his goal scoring production from last season, so a senior like Anton N’Dayishimiye (eight goals last season) will be counted on for additional production.

Marion (11-5; 2A state quarterfinalist) All but three goals return for Coach Marco Fichtner, who led the Indians to the Class 2A state tournament for the first time in school history last season. Sophomore Jaffer Murphy scored 14 goals in 12 games last season and was an honorable mention all-state honoree.

Solon (16-6; 1A state quarterfinalist) Coach Jeremy McMurrin returns two Class 1A honorable mention all-state seniors in midfielder Isaac Vang (11 goals) and goalkeeper Eric Weetman. Junior Luke Yetley (15 goals) brings back the most scoring punch for the Spartans, who qualified for the state tournament for the third time in school history.

Williamsburg (11-6; 1A substate finalist)Led by sophomore Matthew Cronquist (15 goals) and juniors Leighton Jones (9) and Zach Litwiller (10), Coach Ryan Sauser and the Raiders return over 85-percent of their goals scored from the 2017 team that was one win from their first state tournament.

Players

Vance Bartelt, sr., midfielder, Benton Community — First team all-Wamac selection last season with 11 goals and 18 assists in 20 games. San Diego Mesa Community College signee.

Thomas Bean, sr., midfielder, Cedar Rapids Xavier — Class 2A second team all-state and first team all-MVC honoree last season with 21 goals and 16 assists in 18 games. Truman State (Mo.) University signee.

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Matthew Cronquist, so., midfielder, Williamsburg — First team all-Wamac selection last season with 15 goals and 11 assists in 16 games.

Jonah Dancer, sr., midfielder, Iowa City High — Class 3A second team all-state and first team all-MVC honoree last season with nine goals and four assists in 20 games.

Andrew Hammer, sr., defender, Cedar Rapids Washington — Class 3A first team all-state and MVC Athlete of the Year with six goals and five assists in 18 games last season. Two-time first team all-MVC selection.

Will Hanigan, sr., midfielder, Cedar Rapids Xavier — Class 2A first team all-state selection in 2017 despite playing in just eight games due to injury. Second team all-state honoree in 2015 and 2016. First team all-MVC in 2016.

Justice Lamer, sr., forward, Benton Community — First team all-Wamac selection last season with 15 goals and three assists in 20 games.

Mateus Lewis, jr., midfielder, Cedar Rapids Prairie — Class 3A second team all-state and first team all-MVC honoree with 10 goals and eight assists in 20 games.

Zach Litwiller, jr., forward, Williamsburg — First team all-Wamac selection last season with 10 goals and five assists in 15 games.

Jackson Meyer, sr., defender, Iowa City High — First team all-MVC selection last season with six goals and one assist in 20 games. Drake signee.

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Jaffer Murphy, so., forward, Marion — Class 2A honorable mention all-state and first team all-Wamac honoree last season with 14 goals and two assists in 12 games.

Cole Ours, sr., midfielder, Iowa Mennonite — First team all-SEISC selection last season with 19 goals and 12 assists in 17 games.

Danny Peak, sr., midfielder, Linn-Mar — Class 3A honorable mention all-state and first team all-MVC honoree with five goals and seven assists in 14 games last season.

Nick Pechous, sr., forward, Iowa City Regina — Class 1A first team all-state selection last season with 18 goals and seven assists in 18 games.

Boston Riley, sr., defender, Cedar Rapids Prairie — Class 3A second team all-state and first team all-MVC honoree with seven goals and three assists in 20 games last season. Wisconsin-Platteville signee.

Isaac Vang, sr., midfielder, Solon — Class 1A honorable mention all-state selection with 11 goals and four assists in 21 games last season.

Matt Walter, sr., forward, Cedar Rapids Prairie — Class 3A first team all-state selection last season with 16 goals and four assists in 20 games. Two-time first team all-MVC honoree. Wisconsin-Platteville signee.

Eric Weetman, sr., goalkeeper, Solon — Class 1A honorable mention all-state selection last season with 78 saves.

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Keaton Woods, jr., midfielder, Cedar Rapids Washington — Class 3A first team all-state and first team all-MVC honoree with 16 goals and nine assists in 17 games.

Luke Yetley, jr., midfielder, Solon — First team all-Wamac selection last season with 15 goals and four assists in 21 games.

l Comments: douglas.miles@thegazette.com

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