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Youth movement fuels trapper men

Northwest College goalkeeper Eric Wehse leaves the ground to defend a kick during drills Thursday. Wehse’s defense in goal this season could be a key to what the sophomore believes will be a strong year for the Trappers. Northwest College goalkeeper Eric Wehse leaves the ground to defend a kick during drills Thursday. Wehse’s defense in goal this season could be a key to what the sophomore believes will be a strong year for the Trappers. Tribune photo by Joe Alberico

Freshmen-heavy Trappers could be key to NWC success  

While discussing the season outlook of their soccer team Friday, the smiles on the faces of Erik Wehse and Omar Garcia never faded.

And if the Northwest College men’s soccer team is as successful as the two sophomore captains are predicting, the Trappers may be smiling all season long.

“I think it’s going to be a good year — bottom line,” said Wehse, who returns as starting goalkeeper from coach Rob Hill’s 2013 squad.

Both Wehse and Garcia’s optimism is limitless despite last season’s 9-8-2 campaign that saw the Trappers lose a 2-1 overtime heartbreaker to North Idaho College in the NJCAA Region IX opener.

Add in the fact that Hill’s club will carry 15 freshmen and just eight sophomores (four starters) this year, it’d be excusable if one was skeptical as to how far youthful NWC can go.

Not Wehse and Garcia.

“Yeah, a majority of our team are freshmen this year, but I think they all came in fit and ready to play,” Garcia said. “I think having so many freshman is actually an advantage for us because all of them are so good. If someone gets hurt, we’ll be OK because we have replacements everywhere.”

Wehse agreed, adding that age and experience hasn’t hindered any of his teammates’ desire to improve, compete and win.

“Our depth ... every one, every single one of the guys, all 23 guys are talented and are going to contribute in every way possible,” Wehse added: “Us sophomores, we bring the experience, we bring the knowledge and (the freshmen) bring the energy. Add that together, it’s going to be a good year. We’re going to go far.”

Hill echoed his keeper’s sentiments.

“There’s really no difference in what I see in terms of the abilities and experience within the team,” he said before adding: “This team’s work ethic, their intensity of play ... their desire on the field is something you can’t really teach. I’ve purposely gone after players that are hungry and have a high level of desire because I think that’s something you have to have.”

NWC dropped its first scrimmage of the season last week, but impressed Hill after rallying from 1-0 and 2-1 deficits before finally falling 3-2.

“I think we learned a lot from that match, and honestly, my players showed me that we have fight and resiliency,” Hill said. “As a coach, that’s what you want every time you take the field. If we can bring that each day, we’re in great shape.”

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