Here is the preview of the 2011 Mid-Columbia boys soccer season:
Returning CBBN champion Walla Walla is expected to be the class of the CBBN 4A, but a few close matches have led some coaches to believe that the division might be tighter than expected.
"As far as I'm concerned, anybody could rise up and win this league," said Chiawana coach Rich Zoller, who watched his team barely lose to the Blue Devils 2-1 on Saturday.
But Wa-Hi does return CBBN MVP Andrew Glaeser and forward Ricky Saldana, a good tandem to start with, and only lost a handful of players from last year's lineup.
Wenatchee and Davis should battle for the No. 2 spot. The Panthers are led by returning keeper Angel Guerra, while the Pirates return midfielder Jorge Sanchez.
Richland is hoping to squeeze into one of just four district playoff spots, and coach Octavio DoValle has been happy with the team chemistry so far.
"If we stay together, we'll be good. It takes time to grow," DoValle said. "We're going to gain strength towards the end."
Eisenhower returns the league's top midfielder in Guillermo Silva, which might help the Cadets earn a playoff spot.
Chiawana is the only CBBN team with two first-team all-CBBN returnees -- Alex Acevedo and Rene Solorio -- but the Riverhawks are looking to bounce back from a poor start at 1-4.
Moses Lake lost in the first round of districts last year and is hopeful for another shot.
Returning All-CBBN 4A
GK--Andrew Glaeser, sr., Walla Walla (MVP). MF--Guillermo Silva, jr., Eisenhower; Alex Acevedo, jr., Chiawana. For--Rene Solorio, soph., Chiawana.
GK--Angel Guerra, sr., Wenatchee. Def--Jace Wescott, sr., Richland. MF--Marco Marmolejo, sr., Eisenhower; Jorge Sanchez, sr., Davis; Daniel Pak, sr., Richland. For--Gustavo Razo, sr., Eisenhower; Ricky Saldana, sr., Walla Walla.
CBBN 3A preview
Count on a competitive finish to the CBBN 3A race with three teams capable of contending for the title.
Pasco, Southridge and Kennewick were each ranked in the Seattle Times preseason poll. The Bulldogs were mistakenly ranked in the 4A poll, but you get the idea. Forward Richard Renteria (Pasco) and Jake Zoulek (Southridge) are the only returning first-team selections from last year, while the Suns and Lions each placed two players on the second team.
"Every single team has the potential to win on a given day," said Bulldogs coach Matt Potter, who got a bonus this season when GK Gustavo Zaragoza transferred from Chiawana.
West Valley finished in the middle of the pack last season but has three second-team players returning in defenders Trinidad Olivera and Forrest Chapin, and forward Jesse Esquivel. Sunnyside has a lightning-quick counter-attack that could wreak havoc on defenses.
Hanford gets a boost of freshman talent -- the Falcons have been starting seven first-year players -- but midfielder Dan Pak will help set the tone for the team's hopes.
Kamiakin is hoping for a better showing than last season's 2-12 finish in the CBBN. Coach Jeff Bennett has been impressed with the Braves' attitude and chemistry so far.
"We had a good showing against Pasco (a 2-1 overtime loss), and we split with the Spokane teams," Bennett said. "We've already shown we can defend."
Returning All-CBBN 3A
For--Richard Renteria, sr., Pasco; Jake Zoulek, jr., Southridge.
GK--Jared Gower, sr., Kennewick. Def--Connor Cravens, sr., Southridge; Trinidad Olivera, sr., West Valley; Forrest Chapin, sr., West Valley. MF--Ezequiel Angeles, sr., Pasco; Javi Gamez, sr., Southridge. For--Paul Martinez, jr., Kennewick; Jesse Esquivel III, jr., West Valley.
Quincy returns a strong lineup and is the frontrunner in the CWAC, but Selah could challenge with an up-and-coming group.
Othello should be in the mix come playoff time with all-CWAC midfielder Jorge Campos.
Gustavo Madrigal, a returning second-team midfielder, will anchor Prosser's hopes.
Grandview suffered several close losses last season but hopes to turn some of them around this season behind coach Anne Holden.
GK--Andrew Yoder, sr., Ellensburg. MF--Efrain Alvarado, jr., Quincy; Jorge Campos, jr., Othello.
GK--Cody Beaumont, sr., Quincy. MF--Rafael Sanchez, soph., Selah; Gustavo Madrigal, sr., Prosser; Jose Ibarra, sr., Ellensburg; Jose Espinoza, sr., Wapato. For--Ramon Sanchez, sr., Ephrata.
Royal has made some noise early, starting 4-0 in league play. But Connell and Wahluke -- who have alternated the league championships for most of the last decade -- are always waiting for another chance at state.
The Eagles return league MVP Johnathan Rodriguez and Ivan Barrigan at midfield, while the Warriors bring back first-team picks Luis Rivera and Pedro Acevedo.
Returning All-SCAC East
Def--Luis Rivera, jr., Wahluke. MF--Johnathon Rodriguez, sr., Connell (MVP); Ivan Barrigan, sr., Connell; Pedro Acevedo, sr., Wahluke; Luis Esquivel, sr., Royal.
GK--Salvador Gomez, jr., Connell. Def--Christian Torres, jr., Connell. MF--Jorge Valdez, jr., Wahluke; Manuel Martinez, jr., Wahluke; Adam Martinez, jr., Royal; Elias Corona, jr., Royal. For--Eugenio Cruz, soph., Wahluke; Shaq Ledezma, jr., Royal.