Winds of change are blowing on the Midlands boys soccer scene this season with the rise of Ridge View and White Knoll.
Tonight, White Knoll, the surprise team of the spring, gets a chance to make headlines when its hosts unbeaten, second-ranked Irmo in a key Region 5-4A match.
The mighty Yellow Jackets, on a mission to secure its first state championship since 2004, are off to an 8-0 start and have outscored the opposition 64-1 to date. No surprise there. Timberwolves, however, are another story altogether. Tim Green’s team is 6-0, ranked No. 5 in Class 4A with a 4-3 win over Ridge View and last week’s 3-0 region triumph over Dutch Fork being the most impressive successes so far.
Tonight, White Knoll’s competitive confidence will be put to the test.
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“We’re a team that has had soccer talent, but the big difference is our physical size and experience have caught up,” said Green, whose has been coaching at White Knoll for five years, the past three seasons as the head man. “Most of our players are in club soccer, and we have numbers. For the first time since I’ve been here, we have a true varsity team with mainly seniors and juniors, a true jayvee team with sophomores and freshmen and a true B team in middle school. Our program is coming along very nicely.”
In the past, White Knoll has not fared well in boys soccer. Between 2004 and 2008, the Timberwolves put together a less-than stellar 27-50-1 overall record, a 10-34 region mark and made the state playoff cut just one time.
Freshman striker Nestor Jaramillo has been lone of the most exciting newcomers on the Midlands soccer scene. The varsity rookie has, in fact, been a scoring machine with 13 goals. Jaramillo has found the range in every match to date, and already has two hats tricks (vs. Ridge View and North Augusta) on the books. Jaramillo had one goal and front-line mate Jonathan Salinas accounted for the other two tallies against Dutch Fork. Salinas is second on the team with three goals.
Juniors Ian Murray and Todd Johnston anchor the WK defense in front of feisty senior keeper Skylar Walker.
Irmo is coming off a 3-0 on Friday against sixth-ranked Lexington. Kyle McEwan, Trent Morgan and Zach Acree had the goals, Emmett Lunceford and Leo Mukofsky were credited with assists and the Jackets defense posted its seventh shutout of the season. Irmo boasts impressive scoring balance. Eight players have at four goals so far - McEwan (10), Acree (8), Edgar Sosa (8), Taylor Varney (7), Morgan (7), Oliver Nobles (5), Mukofsky (4) and Lunceford (4).