The New Richmond and Somerset teams were both well represented on the 2017 All-Middle Border Conference boys soccer team.
New Richmond had four players selected to the All-MBC team, while Somerset placed three on the team. New Richmond finished in third place in the conference, with Somerset ranking eighth.
New Richmond had three players named to the All-MBC first team. Seniors Mason Marek and Tyler Blattner both were voted onto the first team, as was sophomore AJ Johnson. Johnson was the only sophomore named to the All-MBC team. Nick Cheslock was picked for the second team.
Junior goalkeeper Brennan Sheridan was selected to the All-MBC second team. There were no keepers selected to the first team. Sheridan and Amery keeper Mason Helbig were the only goalies selected to the team and both were placed on the second team. Somerset's Elliot Olin and Erik Osorio were named as honorable mention selections.
The Tigers reached the WIAA state tournament for the second straight year and the four players honored were a big part of that success.
Marek was the hub of the Tigers' defense. The personnel around him on the defense changed during the season, but he helped the group become a smart, cohesive group.
"Mason also became an offensive threat scoring often from his position of stopper with 11 goals and one assist on the season. Mason plays the 50/50 air ball better than anyone in the conference," said Tiger coach Darian Blattner.
Tyler Blattner overcame an early season concussion to be a strong presence in the midfield for the second straight year. He finished with 20 goals and 12 assists this season.
"Tyler was part of the defense that held opponents to eight goals in conference and was the second leading scorer on a team that scored 51 goals in conference play," Coach Blattner said.
Johnson had the best offensive season in Tiger history. He set team records with 49 goals and 108 total points.
"AJ's versatility allowed him to fill in multiple positions during the season when injuries hit and he was a scoring threat any time he entered the attacking end of the field," Coach Blattner said.
Cheslock's move to sweeper was one of the key moves in helping the Tiger defense come together as a force this season. Coach Blattner called Cheslock "A tenacious defender. Nick helped anchor a very good defense."
The Tigers announced their team awards recently. They were:
Save of the Year: A save by Blake Getschel against Baldwin-Woodville which was a key to the Tigers' winning on Senior Night.
Goal of the Year: An alert by Blattner when he caught the La Crosse Central defense getting aligned for a penalty kick.
Tiger Pride Award: Mason Marek. "Mason embodies the school spirit and often served as a role model and mentor with his younger teammates. Mason represented our program and our school in a way that fit for him to win the award," Coach Blattner said.
Most Improved Player: Herbie Struss: "Herbie was asked to move from defense to midfield about halfway through the season and stepped up his game even more at that point learning the position and becoming a standout defensive outside midfielder. He also fought through some injuries at the end of the season," Coach Blattner said.
Teammate of the Year: Sean Flandrick: "The qualities we look for in this award is a player who is the ultimate team player, someone who is willing to give of himself to benefit the team. Sean showed that throughout the season with his injury he still attended every practice and game and was a player coach on the sidelines," Coach Blattner said.
Johnson was also recognized for breaking the team record in goals and overall scoring.
The Spartans were extremely young this season, with the three all-conference players carrying much of the leadership role for the team.
Sheridan set a national record for most saves in a season, facing 651 shots this season.
"Brennan is an outstanding goalkeeper. He has great awareness and positioning. His reaction time is incredible, his recovery from the ground back to his feet is unmatched," said Somerset coach Bill Roll.
Olin was the field leader for the Spartans, with his experience showing clearly from the stopper position. Roll said "he has the ability to play any position on the field. Elliot has great foot skills and handles the ball well under pressure.He is a motivated individual who worked hard all season."
Osorio made the move to the defense during the season and it caused a major improvement in the team's defensive play from then on.
"He can play any position on the field. He has the ability to finish in front of the goal and can distribute very well from the midfield, but he may be best suited as a defender," Roll said.
The Spartans recently presented their team awards. They include:
James Clute, senior forward, Best Teammate
Logan Giossi, sophomore midfielder, Commitment Award
Devon Fullerton, sophomore defender, Hardest Worker
Brandon Wright, sophomore midfielder, Most Improved