Posted by Press Democrat Staff Writer Michael Coit:

Reaching the state quarterfinals, the Santa Rosa Junior College men’s soccer team placed four players on the all-league team led by North Region standouts Tyler Hurst and Andy Walker, former All-Empire prep stars.

After defeating Modesto and DeAnza to reach the round of eight, Santa Rosa fell to top ranked Fresno in a tight, entertaining game. While the Bear Cubs’ season ended short of recording the program’s third California Community College Athletic Association title, Santa Rosa ran up an impressive 17-2-3 record in capturing the Big 8 Conference and advancing in the state playoffs.

Santa Rosa’s depth on both offense and defense was reflected in the Bear Cubs first team all-league selections. Hurst, a forward from Piner, and Simon Wheatley, a midfielder from Montgomery, helped pace a high scoring offense. Walker, a defender out of Ukiah, and Mike Marianella, the goalkeeper from Montgomery, helped anchor a defense that minimized scoring chances.

Second team honors went to: Ricky Garcia, forward, Maria Carrillo; Manuel Leon, defender, Santa Rosa; and Miguel Santoyo, midfielder, Roseland University Prep.

Both Hurst and Walker also received North Region recognition.

Coach Marty Kinahan was named conference coach of the year for a seventh time.

In rolling to a No. 10 ranking by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America, the Bear Cubs played with the determination and sureness of a team led by older players who hadn’t used up their years of eligibility to play college soccer.

Captain Spencer Selak, for instance, came out of the Navy Search and Rescue. Wheatley graduated from Cal Poly Pomona. Hurst was a caddie at Mayacama Golf Club after playing minor league soccer.

Both experienced and talented, Santa Rosa continued the school’s winning tradition. The Bear Cubs have appeared in eight state final fours and won the title in 2001 and 2002.