WHS seeks playoff return | TahoeDailyTribune.com

WHS seeks playoff return

Jeremy Evans

Dan Thrift/Tahoe Daily Tribune Whittell High soccer coach Steve Maltase, center, goes over a passing drill with his team Monday at GWHS.

Over the past decade, while other high schools have experienced waves of success and struggle, North Tahoe and Truckee have remained constants in the 3A soccer scene.

The North Shore schools have won nine state titles since 1995. That trend probably won’t change this season. But after losing a combined 20 seniors following the 2002 and 2003 seasons, which contributed to a sub-par year in 2004, Whittell figures to inch closer to the North Shore schools in 2005.

“I think it’s going to be a solid season for us,” said coach Steve Maltase, who is entering his 12th season with the Warriors. “I think we have the potential to be a good team by the end of the season. We will probably struggle early but get better each week and at each practice.”

Last season, Whittell had 20 underclassmen on its roster. Now those players are more experienced and ready to return the Warriors to prominence. Since winning back-to-back league titles in 1997 and 1998, Whittell had made the playoffs each year until last year.

The Warriors lost only four players from last year’s team that went 7-16-3. But top returners such as junior Jonathan Sosa and senior Cody Harrington don’t expect a repeat of last season.

Sosa, a junior who led the team in scoring last season with 10 goals, was an honorable mention all-league selection in 2004 and should be among the league’s top forwards. Harrington, meanwhile, will assume the team’s captain role from his center midfield position.

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“I think we’ll be much better than last season,” said Harrington, who was also a captain last year. “I think we have a lot of potential. North Tahoe and Truckee are definitely the teams to beat, but our goal is to make the playoffs. I think we have a good chance.”

Other key returners for Whittell are goalie Casey Kaleta, defender Justin Jordan and sophomore Christian Hernandez, who played midfield last year but will start the season as the Warriors’ sweeper. Maltase also said there are two newcomers who could play key roles for the team. Both players didn’t attend Whittell last year and are trying to get clearance to play.

Whittell begins the season with a preseason tournament Friday and Saturday in Quincy, Calif. The Warriors play five games in two days before their season opener on Sept. 6 at Quincy.

Whittell’s first league game is on Sept. 16 against Sparks in Zephyr Cove. After that, it faces Truckee and North Tahoe.

“The last 10 state champions have come from our league and have been won by three teams,” said Maltase, who also mentioned Incline’s 2A state title in 2000. “So, basically, if you win our league, you’re probably going to win state. It’s hard, but I wouldn’t want it any other way.

“North Tahoe and Truckee are again the teams to beat. But I think us, Sparks and Incline will be competing for the other playoff spots.”

Whittell Warriors

Coach: Steve Maltase, 12th season

Last year: Went 7-16-3 with an inexperienced roster and missed the playoffs.

Key returners: MF Cody Harrington, F Jonathan Sosa and GK Casey Kaleta.

Key to season: Will another year of seasoning for a young squad be enough to get the Warriors back to the playoffs?

Whittell Schedule

Date Opponent Time

Fri-Sat Quincy Tournament TBA

Sept. 6 Quincy 4 p.m.

Sept. 8 Dayton 3 p.m.

Sept. 9-10 Del Campo Tourney TBA

Sept. 15 Fernley 3 p.m.

Sept. 16 Sparks 3 p.m.

Sept. 20 Truckee 3 p.m.

Sept. 22 North Tahoe 3:30 p.m.

Sept. 23 R.O.P 1 p.m.

Sept. 27 Incline 3 p.m.

Oct. 3 Quincy 4 p.m.

Oct. 4 North Tahoe 2 p.m.

Oct. 6 Truckee 2 p.m.

Oct. 8 Quincy 2 p.m.

Oct. 15 Fernley 10 a.m.

Oct. 18 Dayton 3 p.m.

Oct. 25 Sparks 2 p.m.

Note: Home games in bold.