PENDLETON — To end their second year in the 5A Intermountain Conference, the Pendleton boys soccer team placed four in the league’s all-star selections, and broke some school records along the way.
Senior goalkeeper Andrew Wolotira was selected as a first-team goalie. Wolotira allowed 22 goals on the season, breaking the previous record of 27 that was set in 2010.
“I would credit a lot of our success to him,” Pendleton head coach Alex Erazo said of Wolotira. “He was huge in the leadership department. He brings that level of experience and knowledge that other guys don’t have. He’s a beast of a keeper.”
Senior defender Michael Rodriguez was Pendleton’s second and final first-team selection.
“He may not have scored the most goals, but he definitely was a huge part of our offense,” Erazo said. “We wouldn’t have scored as many goals without him in the middle. He got the ball going forward and kept it going for us. Defensively, he helped keep our midfielders in check.”
Junior midfielder Juan Ortega was Pendleton’s lone second-team selection. Ortega broke the school record for most assists in a season, posting seven by the year’s end.
“It was great coaching him,” Erazo said. “He’s a great, well-rounded player. The stats show his ability to contribute to the team’s scoring and putting others in successful positions. He was instrumental in our attack going forward.”
Spanish exchange junior Jamie Rico-Mendoza was an all-conference honorable mention, and led the Bucks with 13 goals on the season, tying the school record. He and senior forward Jon Lopez also tied the school record for the most hat tricks in a season with one each.
The Bucks ended the season at No. 4 in the IMC standings, going 6-6-2 overall and 5-4-1 in league action. They capped off the year with a 2-0 home victory over the league’s previously top-ranked Ridgeview Ravens.
“We’ve got a great team,” Erazo said. “It’s unfortunate that we didn’t make playoffs, but it was a great season overall.”
Lindsey Pasena Little Sky left an impression on the Intermountain Conference in her first year as a starting player.
The Pendleton sophomore goalkeeper was named the league’s Conference Keeper of the Year.
“As a first-year goalkeeper, she was phenomenal,” Pendleton head coach Paul Parker said. “She has a natural athletic ability. It was a tough year — there were a lot of shots on her all season long. But she had an innate ability to work through the difficult times quickly and get back and focused. She’s been an extremely valuable asset to the team.”
Sophomore forward Reilly Lovercheck was named to the IMC’s first team, and sister Kelsey Lovercheck, a sophomore midfielder, was an all-conference honorable mention. They were the Bucks’ only two returning starters this year.
“They’re quite a pair,” Parker said. “They have an extremely high self-motivated inclination. They have a desire to be better all the time. They’re probably two of the most driven athletes that we’ve seen in the past three or four years. They fought through early season injuries and came back strong. They’re a great pair to have on any team.”
The Bucks ranked No. 5 in the league standings at 2-12 overall and 2-8 in the conference.
“It was rough,” Parker said. “We were really young. What was amazing about this team is that they just kept improving and kept playing. There was no quit in them. We knew from the beginning it was going to be a rough year. They were in several matches, but their youth and inexperience kind of won out. But there was no quit. I’m really excited about the prospects about this particular team in the next few years to come.”