The Prairie High School boys soccer team finished its season on May 4 against Union High School in their first full season since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Coach Jason Staley is proud of his team. Staley said one of the players will go on to play soccer at Clark College.
“We started off pretty strong,” Staley said. “We won our first three games and didn’t even give up a goal in them. By the time we came back from spring break and hit game after game after game with three in a week, we ran into health issues like kids getting sick.”
He said it was hard for the team to maintain a full roster after the first week, but noted the team was resilient. Their first three games were against La Center, Battle Ground, and Heritage. Staley noted the Heritage game included a 1-0 overtime win, “so that was really exciting.”
“We finished on a nice play from Luke Cochran and header finish by Asher Musgrave,” Staley said.
The team won its game against Battle Ground 3-0. The team won six games in the season overall.
There were a number of returning players Staley wanted to highlight from the season. He mentioned senior Preston Slamp, who he said will play soccer at Clark College after he graduates.
“(Slamp) is a big offensive weapon,” Staley said. “He’s really incisive with his cuts at defenders, especially. We notice quite a difference when he’s not on the field.”
Slamp, who was a captain for the team, is a “great encourager” who brings out the potential of other players, Staley said.
Then there’s junior Trent Harker, a holding center midfielder that Staley said “cuts down a lot of the opponents’ attacks” and controls the ball well. Staley said Harker was also a captain that led by example and helped when he could.
Cochran, who is a sophomore, also returned this year. He was the team’s leading scorer with 10 goals and five assists. He’s “an all-around good player that can play any position we put him in,” Staley said, with a “big, physical, strong and fast presence.”
Grayson Allen, another returning sophomore and the goalie, was also a pivotal player. Staley said Allen made many saves and the team would’ve lost more points without him.
“(Allen) is a loud voice in the back giving direction,” he said.
There are a few newer players Staley saw a lot of potential in. They included freshman Preston Hill, a forward who secured “a handful of goals.” KJ Youn, a sophomore center midfielder, also did well this year, Staley said.
“They’re underclassmen and quieter guys, but very disciplined, hardworking players,” Staley said.
The coach has set some goals he hopes his players will be able fulfill next season.
“I hope they continue to improve and try to increase their numbers as a program, and just build the overall program up,” he said. “We have a good solid core at the top, so we’re trying to build more strength into the numbers of the people that we have and the quality of the rest of the guys that come out.”
The team’s overall record for the season is 6-9-1. Five seniors on the team are set to graduate this year.
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