Strong senior class puts Hamilton soccer in state-title race SanTan Sun News

Strong senior class puts Hamilton soccer in state-title race

February 22nd, 2019 | by SanTan Sun News
Strong senior class puts Hamilton soccer in state-title race
Sports and Recreation
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By Zach Alvira

Sports Editor

 

Channing Chasten and Jonas Votaw are used to hearing their names called by the public-address announcer at Hamilton High soccer games.

When they heard their names on Jan. 25, though, it was different.

“I was a little sad,” Chasten said. “It’s my last time on this field with all of my boys except for playoffs. It was good to spend that time with my family. I’m sad it’s almost over.”

Chasten and Votaw were among 15 seniors honored on Senior Night before Hamilton played Kofa High in its final home match of the regular season. With their parents by their side, Chasten and Votaw joined fellow seniors and walked across the field as fans cheered.

“This is my first year so this has been a short stint for me with them,” new Hamilton coach Lance Thompson said. “They have great leadership and have been high-character student athletes for us. New coach, new ideas and they’ve welcomed it with open arms.

“We are going to miss them for sure.”

The ceremony was special but what transpired afterward validated how special this senior class is.

Hamilton beat Kofa, 7-0, five of the goals coming from the senior class. Votaw set up his teammates on two of them, improving his team assist lead to 14.

“I try to work hard every day and deliver when I need to,” Votaw said. “I’ll always look back and see that I had two assists with my best friends on a special night. Remembering that is going to be something else.”

One of Votaw’s assists was to Chasten, setting him up perfectly in front of the net for a shot that Kofa’s keeper could not handle.

The goal was Chasten’s team-leading 15th. While their production on the field is impressive, it’s what they do off the field that stands out to their coach.

“Jonas has done everything we asked and he has passed that on,” Thompson said. “Both of these guys, they’re usually the first guys to grab equipment. They’ll roll up their sleeves and get down in the dirt.”

Thompson said the example that Votaw and Chasten set boosted the team’s success.

At 15-2, Hamilton is in position to land a high seed in the 6A state tournament beginning Feb. 9. The Huskies are No. 3 in the AIA rankings, and likely will host the first two rounds of the tournament should they advance.

They could improve their ranking with wins against district-rival Chandler and No. 1 Brophy to close out the season.

Hamilton’s only losses were by one-point each to Chaparral High, the second-ranked team in 6A, and to California’s Downey High during the Arizona Soccer Showcase on Jan. 8.

Riding a five-game streak, in which they have averaged five goals a game, the Huskies don’t appear to be slowing.

“We’ve had like 15 or 16 guys score this year,” Thompson said. “And the assist amount Jonas has, you can tell he is a special player.”

Thompson relies on the senior leaders, Chasten and Votaw among them, to continue the momentum.

While Chasten was all smiles after the victory on Senior Night, he believes that the Huskies still have unfinished business: winning another state title. He has experienced it.

“I’ve been playing on this team since my freshman year,” Chasten said. “After seeing how all of the other seniors did things before me I want to set an example just like they did.”

As a freshman, Chasten played on the team that won the big-school state title over Gilbert High. The following year, the Huskies lost to Gilbert in a shootout in the semifinals.

After an uncharacteristic early exit last year, Chasten is eager to lead Hamilton back to the top of the state’s big-school conference.

“I’ve loved it,” Chasten said. “I’ve created bonds that will last a lifetime. I can’t wait to represent this program going forward.”

Chasten plans to attend Ohio State University this fall, where he received a partial athletic scholarship and an academic scholarship.

Votaw, meanwhile, received an academic scholarship to California-Davis to pursue a degree in Aerospace Engineering. He also will play soccer.

Before they go off to college, Votaw and Chasten have unfinished business. A state championship would be the icing on the cake, and they are willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish that.

“We want to put a star on the crest,” Votaw said. “It’s all about consistency. We need to continue to put in the work every day and come out here and execute.”

Have an interesting story? Contact Zach Alvira at zalvira@timespublications.com and follow him on Twitter @ZachAlvira.

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