West Valley Preps
For the fourth straight year, West Valley Preps watched enough soccer to put together a credible all Northwest Valley team. Here it is:
F – Michael Huss, junior, Northwest Christian
F – Gabe Guerrero, junior, Ironwood
F – Cameron Burns, junior, Sunrise Mountain
MF – Mathew Holmes, junior, Ironwood
MF – Hassan Razzouki, senior, Dysart
MF – Andy Robertson, junior, Sunrise Mountain
D – Liam O’Neill, sophomore, Northwest Christian
D – Nate Guzman, junior, Ironwood
D – Saul Sepulveda-Ortiz, senior, Deer Valley
D – Kolter Nelson, senior, Liberty
GK – Ben Ogan, senior, Northwest Christian
F – Mckinley Ruiz, sophomore, Kellis
F – Alex Panduro, senior, Ironwood
F – Kristian Bilecki, senior, Mountain Ridge
MF – Joseph Martinez, senior, Valley Vista
MF – Jordan Ehlers, senior, Northwest Christian
MF – Lorenzo Nicolia, junior, Sunrise Mountain
MF – Aziz Amirundi, senior, Peoria
D – Grant Gibson, freshman, Northwest Christian
D – Alfredo Vega, senior, Dysart
D – Sebastian Pippins, sophomore, Ironwood
GK – Abdulkareem Jassam, senior, Deer Valley
Player of the year
Michael Huss, junior, Northwest Christian – Two years in a row from the Crusaders’ striker. This year, Huss led all players in the state — at least among teams that reported their stats to MaxPreps — with 47 goals. And he led the Crusaders to their first state finals appearance in five years.
Mathew Holmes, junior, Ironwood – The on-field maestro of the Eagles, Holmes directed an attack that averaged more than three goals per game. He was named the 5A Northwest Region player of the year for his all-around game. Holmes leads a loaded Class of 2020 at Ironwood.
Coach of the year
Jeremy Witt, Northwest Christian – Witt’s Crusaders are always in the small-schools title mix and this winter they broke through. If not for the two powerhouses in their path at the end, the program’s first state title since 2011 was denied. But Witt devised a strategy to mostly neutralize four-time defending state champion Yuma Catholic in the semifinal, pulling a 2-1 overtime upset for the ages. Witt’s team even carried this strategy over to the first half against Coronado, before the Dons’ relentless pressure and skill finally caused Northwest Christian to cave. Look for this team to be right back on the 3A short list last year.
Tim Beck, Ironwood – Like his team, the Eagles’ Hall of Fame coach with more than 400 career wins will always be in the mix. Ironwood had another good season that no doubt will feel like a near miss following a touch penalty shootout loss in the quarterfinal at Tucson Rincon. This junior class and the Beck’s guidance could mean another state title in 2020.