BOYS SOCCER: Sequim's Berg named All-Peninsula MVP
Steve Mullensky/for Peninsula Daily News
Sequim junior midfielder Eli Berg, right, keeps the ball away from Port Townsend's Daniel Charlton at Memorial Field in Port Townsend this season. Berg led the Wolves with 11 assists.
By Lee Horton
Peninsula Daily News
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All-Peninsula Boys Soccer TeamMVP: Eli Berg, junior, Sequim, midfielder—Dished out 11 assists and scored two goals to help Wolves reach district playoffs. Earned Olympic League honorable mention.
Max Meier, senior, Port Townsend, forward —Led the Peninsula in goals and overall scoring with 36 total points (14 goals and 8 assists). Named to Olympic League First Team.
Thomas Winfield, sophomore, Sequim, forward — Topped Wolves with 11 goals and added four assists. Received Olympic League honorable mention.
Jackson May, freshman, Port Angeles, forward — Olympic League First Team selection scored eight goals and tallied two assists. Had two game-winners against Port Townsend.
Carter McCleary, freshman, Chimacum, forward —Voted to Nisqually League Second Team by league's coaches. Finished the season with eight goals for the Cowboys.
Nicholas Baird, senior, Sequim, midfielder—Two-time All-Peninsula honoree scored six goals and had seven assists and was picked for the Olympic League Second Team.
Daniel Charlton, senior, Port Townsend, midfielder —Second All-Peninsula nod. Accumulated 15 points while helping Redskins reach the postseason. Named to Olympic League Second Team.
Wei-Yan Fu, sophomore, Port Angeles, midfielder — Picked for Olympic League First Team. Scored two goals and handed out two assists for the Roughriders.
Hector Baylon, senior, Sequim, defender— Voted to Olympic League First Team by the league's coaches as part of the Wolves veteran back line. Scored one goal.
Bailey Collins, senior, Sequim, defender —Olympic League First Team honoree scored one goal as member of Wolves' stout defense.
Lijah Sanford, senior, Sequim, defender —Third consecutive All-Peninsula honor. Scored three goals and dished out two assists for the Wolves. Named to Olympic League Second Team.
Austin Wagner, sophomore, Sequim, goalkeeper — Recorded seven shutouts to help Wolves qualify for the West Central District tournament.
Coach of the Year: Dave Brasher, Sequim —The Wolves advanced to the district playoffs and finished third in the tight Olympic League with a 13-3 record (14-5 overall), including two wins over league powerhouse North Kitsap and one over league champion Kingston.
Honorable Mention — Cameron Chase, Sequim; Vincent Ioffrida, Port Angeles; Ron Welches, Sequim; Tim Schneider, Port Angeles; Tristan Isett, Port Angeles; Shiloh Lamphear-Ramirez, Port Townsend; Quentin Butler, Chimacum; Patrick Charlton, Port Townsend; Agustin Muller, Port Angeles; Hayden Kays-Erdmann, Port Angeles; Forrest Piatt, Port Townsend.
It came in the Olympic League seeding tournament when teammate Cameron Chase scored on a header to give Sequim a 2-1 win over North Kitsap on the Vikings' home field in Poulsbo.
“I didn't really have anything to do with it,” Berg, a Sequim midfielder, said.
“But it was a great win. Just thrilling.”
The win was important because it guaranteed the Wolves one of the league's top two seeds at the West Central District tournament.
Not having a direct impact on the glory didn't make the win any less “thrilling” to Berg.
“For a mild-mannered kid, he's really competitive,” Sequim coach Dave Brasher said. “He doesn't like to lose.”
For playing a key role on helping the Wolves win 14 games this season and advance to within one win of the Class 2A state tournament for the second straight year, Berg has been selected as the All-Peninsula Boys Soccer MVP.
He scored two goals and assisted on 11 others, but his value goes far beyond statistics.
“He's just one of those kids who makes everyone around him better,” Brasher said.
“He sees a pass or two ahead. He has a unique vision of the game: he anticipates what someone will be doing and gets them the ball.
“He puts the ball into a position where they can get to it and make a play.”
Berg said his deft passing was developed out of necessity.
“As everyone got faster, I never got faster,” he said. “I couldn't rely on my speed, so I had to get better at passing.”
Berg's passing brought him within two assists of Sequim's single-season record (13 by Vann Brasher in 2004) and put him in pursuit of the school's career record of 24, which is held by Vann Brasher (2001-04) and Jeff Catton (2005-08).
Berg has 13 assists in his career, so the school record is within reasonable reach.
“Definitely, now that is a goal,” Berg said. “That'd be awesome.”
Berg said he also would like to score more goals as a senior. With top scorers Thomas Winfield (11 goals) and Chase (nine goals) returning for the Wolves next season, Berg's primary role will probably remain setting up teammates and controlling the midfield.
He's fine with that.
“Scoring goals is fun. I'd like to score more,” Berg said.
“But as long as we're winning games, I'm fine getting the assists.”
Winning, of course, is another goal for next season.
“I want to make that run to state,” Berg said. “We've been so close the last two years.”
Even if Berg's role doesn't change next season, Brasher expects Berg will be an even better player as a senior because soccer is a year-round endeavor for him.
And this “offseason,” Berg is competing at a higher level of soccer than usual.
After playing for area elite team Storm King Soccer Club for a number of years, Berg tried out for and made the Kitsap Pumas' U17 A Team in the spring.
He practices with the Pumas twice a week in Poulsbo. The team's season will continue through about the start of the high school season in March.
Playing soccer year-round isn't much of a sacrifice for Berg.
“It's always been something I could do well,” he said of soccer. “It's something I've been able to build my life around.”
Sports Editor Lee Horton can be reached at 360-417-3525 or at email@example.com.
Last modified: July 20. 2014 10:00AM