New faces are a touch familiar
After running Eagle River High’s boys soccer program for its first four years, Eric Dearborn is starting is second stint with the Wolves.
The opportunity for Dearborn to reassume the head coaching duties came after Max Solodkii took a job in Atlanta after coaching varsity for one season.
“I figured it was time to jump back in,” Dearborn said.
Though Dearborn hasn’t coached Eagle River’s varsity program for three years, he has some familiar faces on the team. Seniors Addie Platt, Quinn Hulse, Bryce Wolery and Josh Oberlander are all entering their fourth varsity season and played as freshmen under Dearborn.
Those four make up half of the returners, Dearborn said, and will be relied on heavily.
“They’ve been such a strong core for a while,” he said.
Last year, Platt was first team All-Cook Inlet Conference selection and Hulse received second team honors.
Dearborn said a good mix of experience and young talent should bode well for the Wolves.
“I’m pleasantly surprised and cautiously optimistic,” he said.
The challenge, Dearborn said, is building team chemistry in a season that only lasts eight weeks.
“You just can’t force it,” he said.
The Wolves have 19 on the varsity roster, Dearborn said, and 23 on JV.
The Wolves — who beat Chugiak for the first time in school history last season — finished with the sixth-best conference record and were eliminated by No. 3 West in the first round of the CIC tournament.
Eagle River opens its season today (March 21) against Dimond at The Dome at 4:40 p.m. The Wolves then play East on Saturday, March 23 at 6:30 p.m. at The Dome.
Chugiak under new leadership
Prior to last season, Matt Miller coached Chugiak’s JV team for seven years. Now, he’s taking over for Mikey Evans as the head of the Mustangs’ varsity team.
Miller is already off to a good start as 40 kids came out for soccer — nine more than the Mustangs had at the beginning of last season.
“The big difference from last year is turnout,” he said.
Most of the varsity roster is made up of upperclassmen, Miller said.
Despite graduating 10 seniors, Chugiak has a strong returning group, Miller said. Key returners include second team all conference midfielder Brady Sanders, Josiah Streff, Daniel Bozone and Roger Jorgensen, he said.
Miller said he sees promise from his squad early in the season.
“It’s starting to come along,” he said. “I won’t know much until I get everybody eligible.”
Miller’s goal for his first season as head coach is simple: progress every week.
“I’m just looking to improve each game,” he said. “Hopefully, it will all come together.”
Last year, Chugiak had the seventh-best conference record and was eliminated by No. 2 South in the first round of the CIC tournament.
The Mustangs opened the 2013 campaign with a 5-1 loss to West on Tuesday, March 19 at The Dome. Daniel Bozone had the lone goal for the Mustangs.
Chugiak plays Service on Monday, March 25 at 4:40 p.m. at The Dome.