OSAA Class 5A Boys Soccer has been dominated by few teams in the recent past; Woodburn and Hood River Valley representing hotbeds of soccer talent in the state. Summit broke into the mix with a State Championship in 2013, but every other 5A State Championship since 2010 has been won by Woodburn (4) or Hood River Valley (2). This year, LaSalle looks to add themselves to that list.
The Falcons have been knocking on the door for awhile; last year they upset 2-time defending State Champs Hood River Valley in the quarterfinals, only to lose to Wilsonville in the Semis. Tuesday they play host to Woodburn, who is hitting their stride at the right time.
After losing some powerful voices on and off the field to last season’s the graduating class, LaSalle coach Seth Altshuler says the Falcons this year are built on technique and speed, and the ability to play skilled but hard-nosed soccer. “We pride ourselves on our work rate” Altshuler says.
Despite losing one of their team leaders Brendan Dexter to injury, the Falcons have guys stepping up.
Quinten Castner is the Falcons sophomore goalkeeper. 2nd team all-state as a freshman, his coach describes him as one of the best goalies in the state.
Senior forward/ midfielder Jonathon Kennedy is a team captain and leader of the midfield. “Incredibly hard working and tough, he will be a huge part of our season. We rely on him for toughness, skill, and leadership” says Altshuler. “He does all the dirty work and is the backbone of our team. He’s tough, hard-working, and unselfish.”
Also making a difference for the Falcons this season is sophomore forward Luke Strange. “Incredible technique and skill on the ball, scores goals and creates them as well” says his coach. “He continues to show up in big games, scoring our game winner vs. South Albany and doing the same thing against Sandy earlier in the season. He’s technical and dangerous on the ball and a huge threat to any defense he faces.”
“The hard work these boys are putting in is really paying off” Altshuler adds. The Falcons will need contributions from all around as they battle Woodburn tomorrow night, one of the top programs in the state over the past decade.
You can watch the game tomorrow live on OregonSportsBeat.com at 6:00 pm.