Archbishop Murphy coming together at the right time | Boys soccer
Last updated 4/19/2019 at Noon
Five weeks into the regular season, Archbishop Murphy finally showed its true potential.
Senior forward Wyatt Long scored two goals to help lead the Wildcats to a 3-0 victory over Shorewood in a Wesco 3A/2A boys soccer game Wednesday, April 10, at Archbishop Murphy High School.
The Thunderbirds, currently in second place in the league, were coming off a 2-0 victory over league leader Marysville-Pilchuck and had won five straight games by a combined 20-0 margin before Wednesday’s decisive loss.
Archbishop Murphy coach Mike Bartley described the victory as huge.
“The best part is we were fully healthy and had everybody available,” he said. “That was the first game that we’ve had everybody.”
Myriad injuries coupled with players taking college visits created havoc for Bartley as he tried to field a cohesive unit. A rotating starting lineup from game to game contributed to 0-3-2 start to league play.
“Somebody was missing or even two were gone and it was just causing us to never have the same team on the field,” Bartley said.
The three losses also were to three of the better teams in the league Snohomish, Edmonds-Woodway and Marysville-Pilchuck.
But following a 3-3 tie with Everett, Archbishop Murphy (4-3-3 in the league 4-4-3 overall) recorded victories over Arlington, Oak Harbor, Marysville-Getchell and then Shorewood.
Senior Connor McDanniel scored the Wildcats’ other goal against the Thunderbirds. McDanniel will be out of the starting lineup after having surgery on his thumb. Long missed the first week of contests because he was away on a college trip and did not have the 10 practices he needed to be eligible.
McDanniel and senior co-captain Max Henderson have grown into their leadership roles, Bartley said.
“It’s something they had to learn really fast,” he added. “We’re relying on a lot of young guys.”
Bartley noted that what calls the spine of the team has good experience with defender McDanniel, defender Henderson, junior defender Tyler Franck, junior midfielder Cole Lovell, senior forward Long and senior forward Buba Manneh.
“The young guys on the wings are developing,” Bartley said. “They’re starting to play pretty well. I think a few wins under your belt gives them confidence. I think we’re playing better just because of that too.”
Goalkeeper Sullivan Hupp started as a freshman, so he’s got a lot of varsity experience.
“He’s solid. He was another one on the injured list,” Bartley said. “We were playing a freshman.”
The goal the rest of the regular season is to stay healthy and continue to build on team chemistry.
“I think we can compete at the highest level,” Bartley said. “I have confidence in this team.”
“If we can have the same team on the field, we can learn and grind out games that would be really close. It’s hard when you’re changing the lineup every time and somebody is getting used to somebody else. Then we’re also playing people out of position.”