We all have our own opinions as to who we’d have on the area’s best high school soccer team for 2010.
However, I hope those named here as part of The Evening News and Tribune’s “Kick It” boys’ and girls’ teams and squads comprise as many of those who deserve recognition as is possible for their play this fall.
As we approach an interesting new era with the introduction in 2011 of two-class soccer in Indiana, the hope is that the move — along with other factors — can ultimately help encourage more youths to come out and play the game over the coming years.
Critics say that the smaller private schools are just as good as the bigger public ones anyway. In fact, 12 different schools have won IHSAA state titles over the past 17 years — seven are public, five are private.
For the record, Lake Central, a public school with an enrollment of 3,214, won the boys’ state tournament this past weekend, while South Bend St. Joseph’s — a private school with an enrollment of 809 — won the girls’ state crown.
So while splitting it straight by the numbers is probably not the ideal solution (somewhere around the 750 mark is the talk), I for one would like to think that more participation is the IHSAA’s raison d’etre for the new structure.
That is, smaller schools taking on others comparable in size, resulting in more competitive games, and the spreading around of more state/semistate/regional/sectional championships, resulting in less disheartened kids — and more players.
Sadly, freshman starters were conspicuous by their absence with the boys’ traditional powerhouses this year, although there were a few who managed to get some playing time. Here’s hoping that changes.
The immediate future looks somewhat brighter amongst the girls, which is good news for a number of schools, not least sectional winner Providence as it prepares for a possible assault on second-tier semistate and state championships in the coming years.
BOYS’ TEAM OF THE SEASON
• Cauldon Feldhaus (Jeffersonville): Nine shutouts during Jeffersonville’s 18-3 season, and a match-winning save in the regional-final, penalty-kick decider against Trinity Lutheran.
• Nick Blackwell (New Albany): Missed some games through injury, but played his part in helping New Albany secure another sectional crown against Floyd Central.
• Tyler Butler (Floyd Central): Center-back in a strong defense which remained unbeaten in regulation time throughout the season, and conceded just seven goals in 18 games.
• Acy Huffman (Jeffersonville): The junior sweeper commandeered the Red Devil defense to a regional title.
• Joe Bauer (Floyd Central): The area’s most prolific attacking defender, scoring seven goals from left back.
• Lucas Rigsby (Jeffersonville): The senior captain secured his third sectional title and first regional championship with the Red Devils. The winger’s final tally of 20 assists is reportedly a school record. Only player to appear on all three of our Teams of the Season.
• Pierce Crawley (Providence): The sophomore midfielder was the Pioneers’ leading scorer with 11 goals.
• Jordan Vejar (Jeffersonville): Integral part of the Red Devils’ midfield and pitched in with 17 goals and 16 assists.
• Will Spiller (Floyd Central): One of the area’s standout players, the Highlander senior captain guided his team to a Hoosier Hills Conference title.
• Brian Fischer (Jeffersonville): The sophomore was the area’s top boys’ scorer with 22 goals, including six in the postseason and a hat trick against Providence in the sectional final.
• Matt Kelecy (Floyd Central): Scored 15 goals for the Highlanders, finding the net in victories over rivals Providence and Jeffersonville during the regular season.
• Carson Webb (Jeffersonville): In his first year at the helm, Webb led the Red Devils to the IHSAA semistate tournament after winning their first regional since 2005. Special mention also for Floyd Central’s Zach Watson, for his team’s unbeaten regular season run; to Dutch Vigar, whose Bulldogs pulled off yet another surprising sectional penalty-kick victory over the Highlanders; to CAI’s Will Lorigan, whose team forced Providence into penalty kicks in sectionals; and Charlestown’s Andrew Smith, whose Pirates had their best season to date with a 7-10 record.
• Also on the squad: Jerad Clark (Floyd Central), Tyler Stumler (Christian Academy of Indiana), Jacob Holland (Floyd Central), Levi Johnson (Floyd Central), Ryan Moss (Floyd Central), Jordan Blessinger (New Albany), Vincent Straight (Jeffersonville), Andrew Wimp (Providence), Kameron Jenkins (New Albany), Roberto Martinez (Jeffersonville), Gavin Leavell (Jeffersonville), Doug Roskowski (Charlestown), Sasha Weddington (Charlestown), Wade Brown (Providence), Cray Trimble (Floyd Central).
GIRLS’ TEAM OF THE SEASON
• Taylor Briscoe (New Albany): Her shutout statistics may not have been better than last year, but the junior’s overall regular-season performances were, giving her the edge over Providence’s freshman keeper Autumn Meyer, and Floyd Central senior Cassie Sakai.
• Kelsey Rogers (Providence): The junior was part of a mean defense which lost only once in regular season and finished the year 17-2-1.
• Alysen Shireman (Floyd Central): The senior was again a rock in the central defense for the Highlanders, and did a good job at the back against Providence in sectional.
• Leah Mattingly (Providence): The sophomore is one of the outstanding players in the district, and destined to be amongst the best in the state in her junior and senior years. Her 60-yard-or-so run before setting up Casey Marlin’s sectional-winning goal against Floyd Central was arguably the best soccer moment of the fall.
• Maryashly Betz (Providence): Her coach Dave Smith believes she’d have made a good gridiron linebacker or defensive end, but we like the spirited sophomore as our left back.
• Emma Wesp (Charlestown): Battled through many physical injuries this year to be the Pirates’ leading scorer, netting 10 goals, a new school record.
• Lauren Haley (Floyd Central): The junior is one of the area’s outstanding players and proved so with impressive performances again throughout the fall, pitching in with seven goals.
• Kady O’Farrell (Floyd Central): The sophomore will form a formidable attacking midfield partnership with Haley next fall. Contributed seven goals also.
• Erin Duncan (Providence): With the introduction of two-class soccer next fall, the immediate future looks rosy for Providence, especially with some promising talent coming through, including the likes of Duncan.
• Casey Marlin (Providence): The junior goal machine finished the fall on a mark of 29, an all-time season scoring record for the Pioneers, and 59 for her varsity career, also an all-time record for the school.
• Taylor Patty (Floyd Central): The Highlanders’ leading scorer sprung out of the traps, notching 11 goals in the team’s first nine games.
• Dave Smith (Providence): Led the Pioneers to their first sectional triumph since 2005, and their fifth in total. No shame in losing the regional-title decider to eventual state runner-up Columbus North. Christian Academy of Indiana’s J.D. Dai also has to be credited for getting the minnow Lady Warriors to the sectional semifinal.
• Also on the squad: Autumn Meyer (Providence), Cassie Sakai (Floyd Central), Taylor Davis (Jeffersonville), Tanner Marcum (New Albany), Phoebe Bauer (New Albany), Rebekah Stewart (Christian Academy of Indiana), Cristian May-Boquiren (Providence), Kelsey Graeter (New Albany), Caley Marlin (Providence), Emily Foster (Floyd Central), Kamaren Cole (New Albany), Cassie Holland (Floyd Central), Rachel Wells (Providence), Kasey Wallace (Providence), Lauren Wyatt (Floyd Central).