College notebook: Evergreen State College men’s soccer team primed for conference tournament

Nate Boatright certainly puts in the time.

He has catalogued 1,401 minutes and started all 16 games for The Evergreen State College’s men’s soccer team this season.

“He’s been so steady this year,” coach John Purtteman said.

About as steady as the Geoducks, anyway.

Off to the best start in the program’s history at 12-3-1, TESC is the No. 4 seed headed into the quarterfinals of the Cascade Collegiate Conference tournament Wednesday.

“There’s just a maturity to this team,” said Boatright, a senior. “We have a larger group of older guys that have played together for a number of years, and now we’ve found our roles and how we fit together well.”

Boatright — a Capital High School graduate — is one of 12 upperclassmen on a team whose leading scorers are juniors Juan Lopez (10) and Tanner Williams (9).

The Geoducks play fifth-seeded Carroll College (8-3-2) at 11 a.m. in Springfield, Oregon. The Saints blanked the Geoducks in October, 2-0.

“I think it’s understood what they do,” Boatright said. “They play a more direct style of soccer, and we definitely work on ways to combat that style.”

The Geoducks, meanwhile, are more focused on possession.

“When we’re at our best, we work the ball really well and pick and choose when we go at teams,” Boatright said.

And Boatright is a key factor in that, Purtteman said.

“We’re able to play possession style primarily because he’s so able to make good decisions passing out of the back,” Purtteman said.

Boatright tallied two seasons at Concordia University before joining the Geoducks last year. His junior season, he finished third on the team with 1,505 minutes and started all 17 games in which he played.

“I’d always kind of taken Evergreen for granted, being in my backyard and growing up in Olympia,” Boatright said.

Though, he’s not doing that now.

“This final year is kind of the conclusion of my soccer career in Olympia,” he said. “It feels like a good way to end soccer for me, and I’m excited to see what happens in this tournament. I think we have a lot of opportunity.”

Saints staying local

The Saint Martin’s University men’s basketball team will stick around this week to kick off the Great Northwest Athletic Conference/PacWest Conference Challenge this weekend.

The Saints will play Fresno Pacific University on Friday night before hosting Point Loma on Saturday night.

Both games will be hosted at South Puget Sound Community College at 7 p.m.

SMU lost its season-opening exhibition to Idaho, 86-62, on Oct. 30 before picking up an exhibition win against TESC, 88-76, last week.