Big losses, but Islander confidence still high
By Matt Phelps
Mercer Island Reporter
High school sports teams have to deal with natural attrition as seniors graduate. But the Mercer Island High School boys soccer team is dealing with some unexpected loses from their roster.
Two players not returning to the team are David Hill, who transferred to a school in Virginia, and Adam Ting, who took his senior year off to concentrate on academic goals. For the Islanders the two players represent irreplaceable weapons from a soccer team that placed third at state in 2006.
“They, along with (Alex) Haas, are very tough to replace,” said Mercer Island head coach Steve Newman. “They were quality players with three years experience on varsity.”
Haas might be the biggest loss as the Islander graduate was the team’s goalkeeper during the past two seasons.
“We have a history of good goalies on the Island,” said Newman. “Forrest (Marowitz) has been practicing in the off season and it is time for him to step up.”
The sophomore has big shoes to fill as Haas was one of the best keepers in the state.
“I am just excited to play,” said Marowitz, a sophomore. “These guys have helped me out a lot. But everything is so much faster. Everything is constantly moving.”
Part of Marowitz off-season practice included training with former Islander keeper David Addison.
“He really helped me a lot,” said Marowitz.
Helping Marowitz on the field will be senior Wil Nelp, who helped anchor the defense last year during the season and the state tournament.
“I trust Forrest,” said Nelp. “I know he will make the saves when we need them.”
But one big issue for the Islanders is experience. Nelp is one of the only seniors on the team and the only starting senior player from last year. Other key returning players are Radcliffe McDougald John O’Meara, Chris Morris, Emmett Weissman and Keegan Tomita.
While the team will be young this season, Newman is quick to point out that they are not inexperienced.
“We are a young team but a lot of our players play on club teams,” said Newman. “We have to work and play hard together, though.”
The experience of playing at state last year was not only impacted the players in the thick of the action, but the players on the bench as well — something Newman finds invaluable for his team this season.
“There is carryover even with the young guys,” said Newman. “It means a lot to come into a winning program. I was really happy with third last year and the final four is always a crap shoot. But we have to strive towards our goals this year of winning KingCo.”
If the Islanders realize their goal they will be the first boys soccer team in the league’s history to win the title three consecutive years.
Three teams that will potentially be in their way are long-time rival Newport, Sammamish, who the Islanders lost to twice last year, and Skyline, which has made the move from 4A back to 3A.
“We usually have a preseason game or two but this year with the addition of Skyline we don’t,” said Newman. “But our guys will be ready.”