First-place Timberwolves still have room for growth | Boys soccer
Last updated 4/19/2019 at Noon
Jackson had high hopes at the start of the season.
Those hopes have been realized as the undefeated Timberwolves have dominated their Wesco 4A rivals.
The Wolfpack has outscored its league opponents 29-3 and is in first place with an 8-0-1 league record, (10-0-1 overall). Second-place Kamiak, who Jackson defeated 4-1 earlier this month, is in second place with a 6-2-1 league mark.
“I think everyone knew that this was going to be a good year for us,” senior co-captain Jacob Williams said.
Jackson’s roster includes five seniors and 10 juniors, more experience than the team has had in a number of years.
“I don’t think we have any weak points this year,” Williams said. “I think we’re pretty strong all over the field. We have people who can come off the bench and play as well.”
Williams, senior co-captain Kevin Giessler and junior forward Adan Fernandez have provided most of the offensive firepower. The Wolfpack has scored four or more goals in five games this season.
“We play together on the same club team,” Giessler said. “We know how we play. We’re just used to it.”
The Jackson defense is just as impressive, if not more so than the offense. Junior goalkeeper Justin Huttinger and senior defender Minhyok Kim lead a defense that simply shut down its Wesco 4A rivals. The Wolfpack has recorded eight shutouts so far.
Most of the players in the defense have either shifted positions or are starting for the first time. Yet, the defense was solid from the start.
“It did come together quickly,” said first-year coach Sarah Smart, previously an assistant and currently Jackson’s head girls soccer coach.
“We put people in positions they haven’t played before and they’ve really stepped up,” Williams said.
Jackson’s strong defense helps generate its offense. Smart said the Timberwolves aren’t really a fastbreak offensive team that relies on one player up front.
“It starts from the back line,” she said. “It’s really a team-oriented effort to score.”
Even though Jackson could be in a position to clinch the league title soon, Smart wants to see the Timberwolves continue to work hard all the way to the end.
“I don’t want the success to go to their heads too quickly,” he said. “There is a lot of room, for growth. We have to stay hungry.”
The Wolfpack trailed Lake Stevens 1-0 before Fernandez scored to send the game into overtime. Giessler punched in the game-winner in the second overtime period on Monday, April 8.
“It was an eye-opener,” Smart said. “It was the first time we’ve been scored on first. The way they responded was just fabulous.”
As talented as they are, what sets the Timberwolves apart is their attitude, Smart said.
“Everyone has embraced their role on the team and they work really hard for each other,” she said. “We’re really pushing the joy of the sport. When you like what you’re doing you want to come to practice. You want to say late and you want to succeed. You want your teammate to succeed.
“The thing that gives us the advantage is they work really hard for each other. They’re really devoted to the team and they’re really devoted to each other.”