Local teams turning to new leaders on the field

Teams start playing games Tuesday
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High school boys soccer teams opened their first practices of the fall on Monday, starting to work towards the regular season, which opens on Tuesday.

Like many teams around the state, Shawano, Clintonville and the Gresham/Bowler co-op will need to find a way to replace some key players from last year.

Shawano

As Shawano enters the season, it’s hoping to erase the memory of a disappointing 2017 season in which it posted a 2-18-2 record and finished seventh in the Bay Conference.

Coach Bob Croschere will need to replace a handful of key players from last year’s roster. He will turn to an experienced group of upperclassmen to try and turn things around.

Junior forward Michael Klement and senior goalie Will Bergner will lead the charge for the team after earning all-conference honors last year. Klement was selected to the second team while Bergner made the honorable mention team.

“Changing the attitude on the team,” Bergner said on how the team could turn things around this year. “Once we lost one game last year, it just went down, that attitude carried over to the next game. Our attitude needs to be fresh every time we play.”

“We need to learn to trust each other, communicate more, spread the ball around the field and get everyone involved,” Klement said. “I want to take what the seniors have given me the last few years and hopefully try to share it to them (younger players) and hopefully they take it and prosper from that.”

Senior midfielder Mitchell Jung is the only other returning starter for the Hawks.

Croschere will turn to senior midfielders Wyatt Theis and Cesar Ramirez and senior defenders Collin Buerman and Zach Davis to try and fill some of the voids. Junior forward Christopher Etori and sophomore midfielder Caden Tetting also will see more time on the field.

Clintonville

Despite having some key players from last year’s team graduate, Clintonville coach Chadwick Dobbe still has high aspirations for his team.

“We have been in the top half of our conference for the past few years and I don’t expect that to change this year,” Dobbe said. “We have lost the regional final two years in a row now and I hope this is the team that can get over that hump. We bring back a very strong defense, but have lost a lot of offensive talent.”

The Truckers lost two first team all-conference selections and also two captains from last year’s team that finished third in the North Eastern Conference and made it to a regional final, where it fell 2-1 to Rhinelander.

Senior forwards Matthew Morse and Austin Baird will lead the Truckers’ attack this season. Senior Donovan Rindt and junior Cameron Zeinert will serve as defenders while juniors Presley Rosenow and Isaac Pyatskowit play at the sweeper and midfielder positions, respectively.

While Wrightstown won the conference with an impressive 7-1 mark last year, the conference has seen a different team champion in each of the last three years. Clintonville is hoping to win the conference this year to keep that streak alive.

Gresham/Bowler

The Gresham/Bowler co-op experienced mixed results last year, both in nonconference play and while competing in the top-heavy Central Wisconsin Conference. The co-op posted a 9-10-1 record overall, with a 6-7 mark in the conference.

Unfortunately for Gresham/Bowler, the team heads into the 2018 season with plenty of question marks following the departure of some all-conference selections from last year.

Drew Haffner and Todd Otradovec each graduated while Justice Paiser, who is a senior, is dealing with an injury that could keep him off the field for part or all of the season. With the key losses, coach Nate Boucher sees this year as more of a rebuilding season in which players can get familiar with the game.

The co-op will include senior Bryce Bohl and sophomore Raven Bennett at the striker positions. Junior Zack Fehrman will play as a midfielder while senior Nathaniel Juga and juniors Josh Hoffman Jr., Zak Burr and Carlos Martinez all serve as defenders.