Skyline soccer after return trip to state, Issaquah opens KingCo play | Prep sports feature

The Spartans posted a perfect mark in 2013 during the regular season, and hope to make a prolonged playoff run this year, while Issaquah is off to a hot start under a new head coach

After posting a perfect record in conference play during the regular season, and earning a spot in the 4A KingCo title game and state tournament, Skyline looked poised for another deep postseason run in 2013.

But a pair of losses in its final two games unceremoniously ended their campaign, and the loss of six all league honorees from that squad leaves the task of redemption to a new mix of Spartans.

One player KingCo foes likely wish had moved on is senior forward Jason Twaddle, a multiple time All-KingCo selection and one of coach Don Braman’s most prolific offensive options.

“He is a capable player,” Braman said. “We’re going to need to see quality in order for us to be successful.”

Skyline has dealt with injuries already on the young season, and Braman said putting his top group together on the field for a prolonged stretch will ultimately decide the fate of a team looking for its first state tournament win in two seasons.

The Spartans beat Wetnatchee 2-1, and earned draws with Camas and Archbishop Murphy before beating Eastside Catholic 3-0.

Along with Twaddle, Braman said junior forward Nate Hardwick and junior midfielder Sean Curtis will be counted on to create offensive opportunities. He also pointed out senior defender Jake Therrien for his early season contributions.

“I expect Nate and Sean to do some of the heavy lifting for us this year,” Braman said, adding formations and personnel details have yet to be finalized due to injuries. “We’re still working through some of the details.”

While Braman will miss the services of his departed seniors from a team that went _____ before faltering in the playoffs, sophomore Matthew Richardson and senior Nihar Baxi appear ready to step into the vacated roles.

Baxi did not play with the high school team the past two years, and along with Richardson is seeing his first varsity action for a team looking to reestablish itself at the top of an always difficult conference.

“We’re going to have to figure out how to play together and cover for each other,” Braman said. “This is a team that should have its sights set on the playoffs, no question.”

Skyline opens KingCo play by hosting Newport tonight at 7:30 p.m.

Familiar face leading Eagles

Issaquah faces Woodinville today at 7:30 p.m. sporting a 2-0-1 record, and is making a push for the top of KingCo with a familiar face in a new role.

Kyle Tatro, a longtime assistant coach in the program, has taken over the varsity squad this year for the first time.

He is without graduated all league players Evan King, Alex Shane, Cooper Fry and Paul Hegedus, but has seen senior Ryan Higgins score a pair of goals and offer up an assist to pace the attack to help his team to a pair of wins.

The Eagles beat Juanita 3-0 to start the season before drawing 1-1 with Mercer Island.

The Eagles beat Eastside Catholic 2-1 and host Woodinville tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the 4A KingCo opener.

Eastlake lost 1-0 matches to Union and Seattle Prep, and begins conference play against Garfield April 1.