Meadowdale rebounds with winning season, playoff game | Boys soccer

Mavericks increase win total from 1 to 8
By David Pan | May 03, 2018
Photo by: David R Pan Meadowdale’s Momodu Sidibeh races down the field with the ball during a Wesco 3A game against Snohomish Tuesday, April 24, at Edmonds Stadium.

In some ways, the playoffs are icing on the cake for the Meadowdale boys soccer team.

A year after finishing last in the Wesco 3A with no league victories and only one win in 16 contests, the Mavericks are headed to the postseason as the league’s No. 6 seed.

Meadowdale (6-4-2 in the league, 8-6-2) hosts Stanwood in a 3A District play-in game at 7:30 p.m., Thursday, May 3, Edmonds Stadium.

Mavericks coach Mike Nelson said that regardless of what happens in the playoffs this season has been a success.

“We’ve made vast improvements as a team compared to last year,” he said. “I think it’s been on and off the field, culture-wise and everything like that. I like the direction we’re heading. I’m pleased with the progress of the team. Regardless of the postseason results, I think we’ve done a successful job this year.”

The majority of players were back from last season and that contributed to better physical play on the field.

“We have an older team now that is able to compete in the physical sense,” Nelson said. “I thought our ability to move the ball and play our system has improved. I think overall just the boys’ knowledge of soccer and their mental awareness has been a strength of change for us.”

The offense has revolved around freshman River Stewart, who leads the team with 10 goals.

At 5-feet-10, Stewart is a physical presence, even though Nelson expects him to add more weight as he grows.

“He has the ability to be a threat every time he gets the ball within striking distance,” Nelson said. “He has a soft touch on the ball. He’s a great finisher for our team.”

The offense suffered a significant blow recently when senior midfielder Ebrima Sidbeh suffered a broken leg.

“He was a big part of our program playing wise as well as with his leadership,” Nelson said. “He was a great part of that midfield. He’s definitely been a hard spot to fill. The boys, I believe are stepping up to the challenge to fill those shoes.”

Senior goalkeeper Ryan Gillis started the season as the backup but transitioned to the starting role and has come up big in a number of games.

“He’s done a great job this year,” Nelson said. “He definitely stepped up to the challenge and provided a great presence in the net, in the box for us.

Meadowdale dropped its final two regular season games, losing 3-1 to second place Snohomish on Tuesday, April 24, and then falling 5-3 to fifth place Shorecrest.

“We’d like to end with a W,” Nelson said. “It’s something we can learn from and use as motivation going into the postseason.”

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