New Richmond and Somerset were the top two boys’ soccer teams in the Middle Border Conference this season, and that was evident with the release of the All-MBC teams last week.
New Richmond had eight players named to either the first or second teams, including MBC Player of the Year Michael Benedict, while Somerset had seven players honored.
Joining Benedict on the all-conference first team are Tiger teammates Joe Casey, Cohan Hare, Clay Gess and Zach Weinzierl, along with Somerset’s Parker Gebheim, Torsten Strom, Shawn Vensland and goalkeeper Aidan Ballard. The Tigers and Spartans combined for nine of the 12 first team spots.
Benedict, who also received all-state honorable mention, scored 23 goals and dished out 10 assists as one of the Tiger team captains this season. A repeat All-MBC pick, he helped lead the Tigers to a conference record of 10-0 while extending their conference unbeaten streak to 20 games.
Casey, Hare and Gess also earned All-MBC honors for the second straight season. Casey had nine goals and eight assists and Hare had 14 goals and eight assists from their midfield positions while Gess and Weinzierl were part of a Tiger defense that allowed just three goals all season in conference play.
Somerset’s Gebheim and Vensland anchored a Spartan defense in front of goalkeeper Ballard that allowed just 2.1 goals per game. Gebheim, who played every minute of every game, also scored two goals, both on headers off corner kicks, while Ballard posted an impressive 89 percent save rate this season.
Strom scored a team-high 24 goals for the Spartans and added four assists as a junior team captain.
Earning All-MBC Second Team honors were New Richmond’s Jack Burmwood, Jovani Perez-Sanchez and freshman goalkeeper Taylar Pinx, along with Somerset’s Dylan Mitchell, Nolan Harty and Joey LeRoux, and St. Croix Central’s Jack McGrane and Jhony Tenezaca. Burmwood and Perez-Sanchez are both repeat picks for the Tigers while Pinx recorded a 9-0-0 record with seven shutouts and a 0.38 goals against average in his debut season.
Somerset’s Bill Roll was named the MBC Coach of the Year. The Spartans finished with season 8-2 in conference play with their only two losses coming against New Richmond.