Yelm boys soccer ended a three-game losing streak with an 8-0 non-conference win against the Centralia Tigers on Thursday, April 1, improving their overall record to 1-3.
The Tornados are off this week for spring break and will be at Timberline Monday, April 12, for a regular conference matchup.
Head coach Jay Dorhauer said he has a solid team this season, despite the shortened six-week COVID-19 schedule, and said they’ve been well-tested going up against the likes of Capital and North Thurston so far this season.
“This is probably one of the best boys teams I’ve had since I got here. It’s just a good group of kids. It’s unfortunate that it’s a shortened season and that last year was canceled,” he said. “It’s a fun team. They’re fun to coach and it’s an exciting team to watch play.”
Dorhauer is entering his ninth year coaching the boys team.
The team started the season out on a familiar 4-3-2-1 formation with senior “Paco” Lucatero leading the strike, but they’ve since switched to a wider 4-4-2 with the addition of junior Israel Mendez up top.
The Tornados this season are experienced with four seniors, 10 juniors and just two sophomores. Lucatero leads in goals scored so far with four over four games. Sophomore midfielder Hudson Nelson has tallied three, junior midfielder Marco Herrera has two and junior Israel Mendez has one.
Lucatero is a star player for Yelm.
“He’s a really dynamic player … He’s fast, unbelievably quick with the ball at his feet and tough as nails, and highly skilled,” Dorhauer said.
Nelson is a primary playmaker for Yelm and helps bolster the team’s scrappy defense, Dorhauer said.
“He’s an attacking mid, and he’s a good-sized kid, strong body and fast. He reads the field well,” Dorhauer said. “To me, that center position is kind of like the quarterback of the team.”
Despite just a small number of days to practice before the start of the season, Dorhauer said his team’s been ready to play against the 3A South Sound opposition.
The team suffered a 1-0 loss against Capital to start the season off on March 23, but Dorhauer said he was proud with how they fought and applied late-game pressure.
Yelm went into halftime on March 25 against North Thurston down 2-0, but recovered with a goal in a 3-1 loss.
The Tornados again found themselves in a precarious position March 30 against River Ridge, but the Hawks moving their defender to the goalie position allowed Yelm to score two second-half goals to avoid a shutout 4-2.
“When you do that, you lose something. Dominoes start falling as you’re moving people around,” Dorhauer said.