Defense wins Championships. This has been the case for the last three seasons in the 2B/1B ranks. Bear Creek in 2013, Mount Vernon Christian in 2014, and Saint George’s in 2015 each gave up less than 10 goals over the course of the season in which they won the State Championship, featured returning defenders with All-State pedigrees and ultimately had goalkeepers that earned shutouts. We look now at the best defensive units on paper for the 2016 season.
1 – Tacoma Baptist Crusaders – Key Returners: GK- Parker Talen (Jr.); Defenders – Ryan Ratliff (Jr) and Jeffrey Solis (Jr)
The tough as nails Tacoma Baptist defense did not concede a playoff in 2015 until they dropped the final match to the SGS Dragons. With the spine of this defense in returning more of the same dominance can be expected in 2016.
2- Crosspoint Academy Warriors – Key Returners: Defender- Matthew Kelley; Goalkeeper – Josh Millermon
The third place finish in 2015 was a massive impressive from previous seasons and much of that success can be attributed to growth the Warriors made in limiting their opponents scoring opportunities. Joshua Millermon was also impressive in a number of shootout victories.
3- Saint George’s School Dragons – Key Returners: Goalkeeper – Noah Halliburton-Link; Defender – Connor Cremers
The Dragons had one of, if not the best, defensive pairing seen at this level in Matt Arlt and Collin Cremers. They will be impossible to replace but a goalkeeper and defender that won the State Championship returned and cannot be easily ignored.
4- Prescott Tigers – Key Returners: Defender- Fernando Lopez
The Tigers lose three seniors on defense and need to find a consistent presence in the net, but with Fernando Lopez returning and players like Christian Caro capable of dropping into defense or goal, the Tigers will be solid across the backline as they look to return to Sumner.
5- Providence Classical Christian Highlanders – Key Returners: Jackson Morris GK
PCC lost a heartbreaker to Crosspoint to be limited from the state tournament but their defensive performance over the course of the year was impressive, with first year starting goalie Jackson Morris racking up 10 shutouts. How he does with an inexperienced defense in front of him remains to be seen, but one can’t argue that 10 shutouts is impressive and bodes well for 2016.
6- Mount Vernon Christian
7- Northwest Christian
8- Friday Harbor
9- Orcas Island
10 – Grace Academy
Tomorrow: MIDFIELD UNIT RANKINGS