EvCC Soccer Makes Playoffs First Time In Five Years


Connor Roestel

Teammates Siloe Galvan (#16) , Henry Gonzalez (# 15), and Ethan Millholland (#30) celebrate victory with Gregor Byrne (#22) against Shoreline on Oct 6. EvCC won the match 4-1.

Connor Roestel, Staff Writer

For the first time in five years, the EvCC Men’s Soccer team qualified for the playoffs. Head Coach Erik Cruz was only in his second year coaching the program.

“You could tell from day one these guys were focused. They were on it, and their passing was great,” said Cruz.

Cruz had his sights set much higher coming off his first off-season. The program had waited long enough for a successful season.

“Coming in as a Head Coach, you want to do better than the previous coach if they haven’t already won everything,” said Cruz. “You want to come in with the mindset of a champion.”

After a 1-2 start in conference play, the team started clicking with a three-match winning streak, which began with a 4-1 victory at Shoreline, with Byrne netting a brace (two goals in a match). From there, the team never looked back as they claimed victories against  Skagit Valley, 2-0 and Edmonds, 5-3 in the reverse home fixture.

The Trojans finished the month of September  4-3-0 in Conference play. Gregor Byrne had scored seven goals in the first month of the regular season.

October started off on the wrong foot as the Trojans lost 3-0 to Whatcom. The team then went on a three-match unbeaten skid winning two matches and drawing one.

“They had the heart, and I feel like a big part is we had the numbers,” Cruz said.

He continued, explaining, “We had one or two subs per position which in previous teams we had a starting lineup then after that the (player skill level) drops down. If I made a (substitution), I knew the player going in would match the level of the player that was subbed off.”

The team lost their next two matches to Peninsula and Whatcom at home. Despite the loss to Whatcom, EvCC had enough points to clinch a spot in the NWAC playoffs.

The team finished October 3-4-1. At the end of the regular season, the team went 7-7-1, securing third place in the North Region, sending the team to the NWAC Playoffs. Gregor Byrne finished the season as a league leader in goals scored with 16 goals across all competitions.

On Nov. 1, the Trojans played Columbia Basin on the road for the Round of 16 matches. While EvCC played solidly in the first half, Columbia Basin capitalized early in the second half with two goals in the 51st and 61st minute. Siloe Galvan scored Everett’s consolation goal in the 74th minute, but it wasn’t enough. Columbia Basin won by a score of 2-1.

The 2017 regular season may be over, but the excitement for the next season is already here.

“Talking with the freshmen you could see it in their eyes that they’re not done, and they will come back hungrier next year,” Cruz said. “We should be returning if not 90 percent, 100 percent of the freshmen.”

Cruz and his coaching staff are looking to have a successful off-season of recruitment to build the roster.

“‘If we have another successful recruiting season in the off-season, then we should be able to compete in the top spots in our region,” said Cruz.

In Cruz’s eyes, the team reached the goals they set out for and have their sights set higher for next season.