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Soccer standouts make All-Kitsap squad
The team was compiled by the sports writers for the Bremerton Patriot, Central Kitsap Reporter, Bainbridge Island Review, North Kitsap Herald and the Port Orchard Independent. Candidates for the team are nominated by the writers for their respective areas. The nominees are then voted on by the writers; the top vote getters make the teams. Up to three honorable mentions are also selected from each school for each sport. The teams include the best players from area schools that not only performed well individually, but played a role in the success of their team.
James Hill, Bremerton, senior: Hill, the league’s top scorer, helped lead the Knights to their first state tournament appearance in 20 years. Hill made the most of his last year with Bremerton, tallying 14 goals and six assists during the season. Bremerton relied heavily on Hill to help anchor the team, especially when teammate Nick Riders missed three games due to a red card violation.
Alex Raquer, Bainbridge, senior: Raquer used his speed to get past many a defense this season, scoring 16 goals and contributing an assist. He scored his last six in the postseason, including the game winner in the Metro League title game. Raquer will try to walk on at the University of Washington next year.
Diego de la Cruz, South Kitsap, junior: De la Cruz is the lone remaining player at the school who played for the Wolves’ 2009 Class 4A state championship team. But the third-year starter’s presence on the field goes beyond historical distinctions. Some at the school argue that he might be the best player in program history and coach James Ritchie expects de la Cruz, who scored 11 goals and had 10 assists this season, to play professionally.
Jordan Kollars, Central Kitsap, sophomore: Kollars has only played two seasons with the Cougars, and he’s already making a name for himself. Kollars totaled eight goals and 11 assists last season. The sophomore midfielder helped lead Central Kitsap to its second state tournament appearance in three seasons.
Miles Rodriguez-Nielsen, Central Kitsap, junior: Rodriguez-Nilsen was one of Central Kitsap’s top scorers, leading the team with 10 goals and four assists last season. The standout played an important role in the team’s victories over top league favorites Bellarmine Preparatory School and Gig Harbor High School.
Michael Crowley, Bainbridge, sophomore: Crowley formed a formidable partnership with Connor Winship in the midfield as he helped the Spartans to the state championship game for the first time in school history. He led the team with 10 assists and scored five goals.
Will Devereaux, Bainbridge, senior: The versatile Devereaux did whatever was asked of him this season – from dropping back to clear balls and mark up on many a top scorer in the Metro League to moving up to the forward position and become a scoring option. He scored nine goals and registered four assists.
Evan Hancock, South Kitsap, senior: Hancock was one of the Wolves’ more experienced players among an inexperienced group of defenders this season. Despite that, the unit remained a strength as South held six opponents scoreless.
Juan Ramirez, Kingston, senior: Kingston head coach Craig Smith said Ramirez has played consistently on the defensive team as the “anchor” for four years, proving he is one of the best in the Olympic League.
Carlos Tirado, North Kitsap, junior: North Kitsap head coach Chris May said next to Juan Ramirez, Tirado was the best central defender in the Olympic League — and possibly all of Kitsap County.
Along with his strength and quickness, Tirado is skillful with the ball and able to use both feet.
Tirado became a captain halfway through the season when the Vikings lost a senior captain. May said Tirado has a great “soccer IQ.”
Tirado finished with three goals and five assists last season.
Nic Miller, Bainbridge, senior: Miller was big for the Spartans all season, notching 10 shutouts and a .77 goals against average as he helped Bainbridge earn a spot in the 3A state title game.
The senior had his best run in the postseason when he posted shutouts in three games and made a mammoth save in the penalty shootout in the semifinal game against the defending state champs in Glacier Peak.
Coach of the year
George Vukic, Bainbridge: A master of tactics, the sixth-year coach made all the right moves as he led Bainbridge to a first ever Metro League title, a first ever academic state title and state finalist trophy.
Honorable mentions include: MF Alex Correll, Bremerton, junior; F Nick Riders, Bremerton, junior; F Lucas Thoresen, Central Kitsap, junior; MF Brian Bonafilia, Central Kitsap, midfielder; CM Marc Barbosa, Klahowya, senior; D Ryan Frederick, Klahowya, junior; F Riley Dreany, Olympic, junior; GK Harry Hanson, Olympic, sophomore; MF Connor Winship, Bainbridge, junior; MF Brad Olson, Bainbridge, senior; GK Jaxom Beverage, South Kitsap, sophomore; F Dallas Brewster, South Kitsap, senior; D Austin Hammer, South Kitsap, sophomore; GK Jason Kramberger, Kingston, senior; D/F Chad Trask, Kingston, senior; MF Nick Tedford, North Kitsap, junior; MF Alex Olson, North Kitsap, junior.