A pair of seniors who did things the right way for the Tomah High School boys soccer team have been honored by the Mississippi Valley Conference.
Midfielder Dylen Pierce and goalkeeper Nolan Stees were named to the MVC’s second team. Tomah coach Scott Conzemius said both players were key to changing the culture of the program that finished with a 5-13-0 record after a 3-15-0 mark in 2017.
“Both players were vital to the improvements we made this year as a program,” Conzemius said. “They did many of the little things right (lifting, working skills, leading) in the off-season as well as during the season. As such, their preparation and dedication put them in positions to consistently make an impact in games.”
Pierce was Tomah’s leading force in the midfield. He scored two goals in his two games against MVC and sectional champion Holmen. Only six other goals were scored against Holmen by MVC opponents.
“Dylen Pierce was a solid midfielder and our most steady presence on the field,” Conzemius said. “He played determined defense and was one of our more explosive offensive players.”
Stees gained the attention of conference coaches by making critical saves. He batted away five penalty kicks and averaged close to 10 saves per match.
“Nolan Stees had a phenomenal season,” Conzemius said. “He saved multiple one-one-one situations and consistently made game-changing saves. Clearly put, Nolan is good enough to be in the discussion as best goalie in the conference. I honestly can’t say enough good things about him − great attitude, teammate, effort and person.”
Two other Tomah players − senior forward Devin Gebhardt and junior defender Isaiah Nick − were named honorable mention.
Senior Wyatt Spohn was Tomah’s representative on the sportsmanship team.
Holmen dominated the first-team picks with senior midfielder Jacob Clements, junior defender Ben Labuzzetta, junior forward midfielder Quinton Olson and junior goalkeeper Jackson Lutz.
Other first-team selections were: Michael Dunham, senior, forward, West Salem; Keaton Hauser, senior, defender, Sparta; William Kaftan, senior, midfielder, Sparta; Griffin Sullivan, senior, defender, La Crosse Logan; Evan Weber, senior, midfielder, La Crosse Aquinas; Andrew Lee, junior, forward, La Crosse Central; and Jordan Groshek, sophomore, midfielder, Onalaska.
Joining Pierce and Stees on the second team: Tyler Harris, senior, defender, Logan; Jacob Johnson, senior, midfielder, Sparta; Christian Reimer, senior, defender, West Salem; Ivan Sanchez, senior, midfielder, Sparta; Wyndsor Goodenough; junior, midfielder, West Salem; Travis Hoffman, junior, defender, Onalaska; Braydon Kreibich, junior, forward, Holmen; Adian Roth, junior, forward, Central; Zak Turner, junior, midfielder, Onalaska.
The rest of the honorable mention: Juan Aquilar, senior, midfielder, Sparta; Nicolas Averbeck, senior, midfielder, West Salem; Ahmad Jandal, senior, forward, Central; Matt Jankowski, senior, goalkeeper, Aquinas; Ian Knudson, senior, goalkeeper, West Salem; Robert Uehling, senior, midfielder, Aquinas; Chase Weaver, senior, midfielder, Sparta; Harrison White, senior, midfielder, Onalaska; Ben Wurster, senior, midfielder, Onalaska; Matt Espelien, junior, forward, Holmen; Kyle Palmberg, junior, forward, Holmen; Alexis Tafoya, junior, forward, Logan; Thana Khan Xiong, Junior, midfielder, Logan; Joseph Lee, sophomore, midfielder, Central.
Clements was the player of the year, and Sparta’s Andrew Kaftan was the coach of the year.
Tomah Journal editor Steve Rundio can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.