They were both unexpected starters at goalkeeper.
Tumwater’s Devin Dieckman began last season on the bench, a backup waiting for his chance. North Thurston’s Forrest Graeber switched to goalkeeper last year on a whim, just hoping for a chance to play.
But by the end of the season, both players were first-team all-league – Graeber in the 3A Western Cascade Conference and Dieckman in the 2A Evergreen Conference.
Now, each is the heart of his team.
“Forrest has incredible instincts,” North Thurston coach Chris Knudson said. “His reflexes are incredible. He’s a natural at it.”
Graeber played defender as a sophomore, then decided to switch in the offseason.
“We didn’t have a goalkeeper so I welcomed the idea,” Knudson said. “He just probably thought it was his best shot on the varsity team.”
Graeber has dedicated his season to William Johnston, a friend and classmate who was killed in a car accident in October. Graeber was a passenger in Johnston’s car.
“That’s affected Forrest profoundly,” Knudson said. “We allowed him to change his number to the one Will wore in baseball. He’s found inspiration in that.”
Three games into his sophomore season, Dieckman, now a junior, made his first start and he hasn’t left the starting lineup.
“He had his opportunity and he came out and had a stable presence,” Tumwater coach Bryan Winkler said. “He made some big plays at key moments.”
So, in one season Dieckman went from backup to all-league.
“He manages the defense very well,” Winkler said. “He’s a good communicator and a good shot stopper. His angle play and the way he sets himself up are very good. He’s the complete package.”
With Dieckman swatting away shots, Tumwater advanced to the playoffs, losing three games in shootouts. But even with Dieckman in goal this season, the Thunderbirds still couldn’t handle North Thurston recently, losing 4-1 to drop to 0-2.
North Thurston is off to a 1-1 start after losing its season opener in a shootout to Aberdeen.
Capital’s hopes of returning to the state playoffs after finishing 22-2 last season and reaching the state semifinals will rest on eight returning starters and a stingy defense that’s led by senior Nate Boatright. Last year, Boatright, who plays center midfielder, was the WCC’s defensive MVP.
“He’s a very committed player that is athletically pretty gifted,” said Tom Boatright, Capital’s coach and Nate’s father. “He’s a good strong leader.”
Nate Boatright plays for the Seattle Sounders FC Youth Academy, joining Centralia’s Prince Gundersen on the elite U.S. Soccer development team. Boatright signed a letter of intent in February with Concordia of Portland, a perennial NAIA power.
Before the high school season started, Boatright drove four or five times a week to the Sounders FC practice facility for workouts.
“It’s a big commitment,” Tom Boatright said. “Besides his soccer, he’s also a good student. He has a 3.5 GPA.”
Capital’s returning starters include three first-team all-league players: center back Jeff Tran; outside back Bryce Joling and Boatright. Other returning starters who were second-team all-league are outside back David Lambert and sophomore forward Jake Zimmerman. Last year, Capital earned an award for having the top GPA in the state for boys 3A soccer.
“We’ve got talent across the field,” Boatright said. “Last year we also had real good chemistry. We’ll need that same chemistry again this year.”
Gail Wood: 360-754-5443 email@example.com www.theolympian.com/sports/blog
2011 PREP BOYS SOCCER OUTLOOK
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Yelm’s Daniel Gonzalez proved he’s a scorer/passer last season when he finished with 22 goals and 26 assists. With his brother, Miguel, graduated, Daniel’s role focuses more on scoring than passing. . . . Brian Carpenter is one of eight returning starters for an Olympia team that just missed the district playoffs. . . . Zack Ismael is a two-time, first-team pick and a key for North Thurston’s playoff hopes. He’s one of three first-team all-league picks returning. . . . Capital is loaded again as three first-team and two second-team all-league players return off a team that finished 22-2. . . . Hugh Rountry returns for Timberline after earning first-team all-league last season. . . . Tumwater reloads with six starters off a team that finished 11-5. ... With nine seniors returning as starters, Shelton will be counting on experience to reach the playoffs. . . . Rochester will be counting on Ricky Zamudio, a first-team all-league forward, to finish with a winning record in back-to-back seasons and for the second time in school history.
Gail Wood, staff writer
BLACK HILLS WOLVES
Coach: Frank Soiza (fifth year)
Last season: 7-9 overall.
Returning starters: Robby Phillips, M, jr.; Luis Magana, M, sr.
Top newcomers/other key returners: None listed.
Coach’s outlook: “Unknown what to expect as this is a brand new team. Only had five returning players from last year.”
Coach: Tom Boatright (second year)
Last season: 22-2 overall, won WCC, finished fourth at state.
Returning starters: Nate Boatright, M, sr.; Jeff Tran, D., sr.; Bryce Joling, F, jr.; David Lambert, D, sr.; Jake Zimmerman, D, so.; Cameron Falkenburg, M, jr.; Courtney McKinney, GK, sr.; Lucas Whiteman, F, sr.
Top newcomers/other key returners: Aiden Williams, F, fr.; Joe Ricchio, M, fr.; Nick Boatright, M, fr.
Coach’s outlook: “It’s all about coming together as a team. If we do that, we will be successful, no matter the record.”
Coach: Tino Sanchez (sixth year)
Returning starters: Ian Ward, D, sr.; Austin Woodland, D, jr.; Cody Pump, D/F, sr.; Zack Flynn, M, jr.; Daltan Boucher, M, jr.
Top newcomers/other key returners: Brandon Hankins, F.
NORTH THURSTON RAMS
Coach: Chris Knudson (fourth year)
Last season: 7-8 overall, advanced to district tournament.
Returning starters: Zack Ismael, M, sr.; Forrest Graeber, GK, sr.; Nick Salazar, F, jr.; Joey Renaud, M, jr.; David Creigg, M, so.; Natty Guzman, D, sr..
Top newcomers/other key returners: Kenny Heo, M, so; Bear Chey, D, sr.; Miguel Soto-Torres, D, jr..
Coach’s outlook: “We are looking to build on our playoff run last season. That shootout loss at North Kitsap left a bad taste in everyone’s mouth. But all the boys came back in shape and determined to compete for the league title and a trip to state.”
Coach: Ty Johnson (fourth year)
Last season: 7-9-1 overall.
Returning starters: Brian Carpenter, D, jr.; Henry Cade, D, sr.; Skyler Specht, F, sr.; Lewis Faller, M, so.; Jacob Wright, D, so.; Chris Westman, D, sr.; Damon Rickard, M, sr.; Devon Parman, F, so.
Top newcomers/other key returners: Jamison Corbin, M, fr.; Bryce Winkler, D, fr.; Tom McGahern, M, so.; Alex Sutton, M, jr.; Jacob Peterson, GK, so.; Daniel Arevalo, GK, sr.; Ryan Luensman, D, so.; Dane Luensman, D, sr.; Nick Pendowski, D, sr.; Nick Baheaux, M, jr.; Gehn Ferguson, F, jr.
Coach’s outlook: “The team’s outlook is good. With a core group of young players, we should compete well in the toughest league in the state. The teams who will make it through the playoffs will definitely be battle tested and ready.”
Coach: Brian Ziese (second year)
Last season: 9-6 overall.
Returning starters: Ricky Zamudio, F, jr.; Sheydan McCoy, F/GK, sr.; Garret VanRee, D, sr.; Edgar Nunez, M, jr.; Felipe Nunez, M, so.; Jonathan Casillo, M, so.
Top newcomers/other key returners: Angel Vazquez, F, fr.
Coach’s outlook: “A strong nucleus returns for us, a good solid group of young players. The team is expecting to make the playoffs after last year’s winning season.”
Coach: Marcelino Dumpit, Jr.
Last season: 4-10-2 overall, advanced to Narrows League tournament
Returning starters: Cody Wilkes, GK, sr.; Craig Woodruff, D, sr.; Michael Bowman, D, jr.; Jon Ramsey, D, sr.; Michael Warman, D, sr.; JJ Loza, M, sr.; Mario Luengo, M, sr.; Jon Potts, M, sr.; Austin Schirato, M, jr.; Michael Millard, F, sr.; Cezar Apez, M, sr.; Alex Nunez, M, so.; Eliud Mendoza, M, sr.
Top newcomers/other key returners: Ian Schirato, D, fr.
Coach’s outlook: “We have a team built up of seniors this year. They have been very successful playing C and JV together, now they are all seniors with the additions of the boys that have already been playing varsity.”
Coach: John Hayes (13th year)
Last season: 3-11 overall
Returning starters: Hugh Rountry, D, sr.; Tim Dzubay, F, sr.; Josh Briley, GK, sr.
Top newcomers/other key returners: None listed.
Coach’s outlook: “We are looking to work hard and try for a positive outcome this season. We have 12 seniors on varsity this season. Hopefully, the leadership will help out.”
Coach: Bryan Winkler (sixth year)
Last season: 11-5 overall, advanced to state tournament.
Returning starters: Devin Dieckman, GK, jr.; Nathaniel Gundersen, M, jr.; Connor Sigmon, F, so.; Austin Snyder, D, jr.; Andrew Saavedra, D, jr.; Kyle Mowlds, D, jr.
Top newcomers/other key returners: Chris Rusch, F, sr.; Kyle Lenherr, F, so.; Jordan Price, D, sr.; Daniel Erazo Alzate, M/F, sr.; Michael Schofield, M/F, so.; Jacob Irwin, M/F, fr.
Coach’s outlook: “Our ultimate goal is to play and win the final championship match on May 28. We will need to take care of things one game at a time.”
Coach: Matthew Herrera (second year)
Last season: 14-4 overall, advanced to state tournament.
Returning starters: Daniel Gonzalez, F, sr.; Alejandro Cisneros, M, sr.; Jacob Smith, GK, sr.; Austin Avelar, M, so.; Juan Chavez, M, so.; Jonas Chambers, D, sr.
Top newcomers/other key returners: Tristian Johnson, D, fr.
Coach’s outlook: “I feel that we should finish in the top three and advance to the district tournament.”
Gail Wood, staff writer
Information submitted by participating coaches.