Experience could lead WHS back to playoffs
Coach Steve Maltase hears the snickers from the Whittell High student body. When they tell their friends scores such as Truckee 6, Whittell 0 and North Tahoe 5, Whittell 0, even his players expect the relentless trash talking that follows.
“Around school, everybody thinks we suck because we’re losing 6-0 to these teams,” Maltase said. “But we’re not playing Independence and Rite of Passage and those kinds of teams. To be quite honest, we could probably compete better in the 4A than we can in our own league. North Valleys, Spanish Springs, Damonte, Hug, Wooster … we could beat those teams.”
The Warriors, though, don’t play soccer in the 4A. They play in the 3A Tahoe League, which includes powerhouses Truckee, North Tahoe and Incline and has produced a state champion each of the past nine years. Last year, North Tahoe beat 4A state champion South Tahoe and Truckee beat Northern 4A semifinalist Douglas.
“It makes it a totally different level than in any other sport at our school,” said junior Paul Waite, who will enter this third season as the team’s starting goalie. “Our league is probably the most competitive league in Nevada. Hopefully we can win a few this year and be a force to be reckoned with.”
The numbers certainly suggest the Warriors can get back to the playoffs.
Whittell has 16 seniors and returns nine starters from last year’s 7-17 squad that was winless in league. Although the Warriors must replace all-league players Cody Harrington and Justin Jordan, Maltase thinks the addition of Mike Ferrante will help smooth the transition.
A transfer from Douglas, Ferrante is a midfielder who played with Whittell’s JV team last year because of NIAA transfer rules. Maltase believes Ferrante is the first true playmaker Whittell has had since Nestor Flores graduated over five years ago.
“Just watching the team that I practice with everyday … I thought I could make a difference last year if I could just be out there,” said Ferrante, who played on the Douglas JV team as a freshman and sophomore. “This year, it should be different because I will be out there. I’m excited with all the seniors we got.”
Returning starters Jake O’Malley and Summy Fatehyar anchor the backline, while Ferrante and returning all-league player Christian Hernandez will control the middle of the field. The trio of Marty Rahbeck, Kirk Baines and Jonathan Sosa are expected to provide the scoring necessary to compete with the North Shore schools.
“Potentially, I think we can compete with those teams,” Maltase said. “Talent-wise, all of our guys are the same. Nobody is really a star and nobody is too bad. I think we have a shot at making the playoffs and making a small run if we get there. I just hope our guys start off the way we played at the end of last year.”
Coach: Steve Maltase (12th year)
2005 record: 7-17
Starters returning: 9
Starters lost: 2
Opener: Quincy Tournament, Aug. 25-26
WHS Boys Soccer Schedule
Date Opponent Time
Aug. 25-26 Quincy Tournament TBA
Aug. 29 Truckee 5 p.m.
Sept. 2 Fernley 1 p.m.
Sept. 6 Incline 5 p.m.
Sept. 8-9 Del Campo Tourney TBA
Sept. 11 Quincy 5 p.m.
Sept. 16 Battle Mountain 1 p.m.
Sept. 21 North Tahoe 5 p.m.
Sept. 23 Lowry 1 p.m.
Sept. 26 Sparks 5 p.m.
Oct. 3 Truckee 4 p.m.
Oct. 5 Dayton 4 p.m.
Oct. 7 Yerington 1 p.m.
Oct. 10 Incline 4 p.m.
Oct. 16 Quincy 4 p.m.
Oct. 20 Spring Creek 4 p.m.
Oct. 24 North Tahoe 4 p.m.
Oct. 26 Sparks 4 p.m.
Note: Home games are in bold.