Marshfield boys soccer sets sights on Valley title
By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD — With a strong group of seniors returning, the Marshfield boys soccer team has the potential to put together another quality season in 2016.
The Tigers, who open their season Tuesday at Holmen, are coming off a 2015 campaign where they finished 11-7-3 overall, ended up 8-3-1 in the Wisconsin Valley Conference, and reached the WIAA Division 2 sectional semifinals before losing to Pulaski.
Marshfield finished just one game behind conference champion D.C. Everest and in third place in the WVC standings last year. With 10 returning players, including nine seniors and seven starters, the Tigers are looking to take a step up and compete for the Valley title.
“I expect the WVC to be tough as usual,” third-year Marshfield head coach Steve McCann said. “There have been five different conference champions in the last six years, and D.C. Everest should be the team to beat as the defending champions.”
The Tigers return 75 percent of their scoring from last year, including top goal scorer Luke McCann, a senior midfielder, who had 17 goals and eight assists in earning first-team all-WVC honors.
Senior midfielders Hunter McManus, Alec Hinson, Ben Simon, Kaylob Croston, and Ethan Leischow are also back for the Tigers. Simon was a second-team all-conference pick, and McManus and Hinson earned honorable mention accolades in 2015.
Collin Nikolai, Klaus Friedli, and Roman Tibbett, all seniors, return to their defender positions. Friedli was also a second-team all-conference choice last season.
“We have multiple guys who can score, and I am expecting a very balanced attack this year,” Steve McCann said. “Defensively we should be solid, including a few newcomers that will bolster our defense.”
Many of the returning seniors are coming off a successful offseason, playing on a club team that finished 16-3 in the Wisconsin State League and different tournaments across the state.
“We will play all but one team in our side of the Division 2 playoff bracket, so we should know how we stack up and have a good look at each team before the playoffs,” Steve McCann said. “Our goal will be a No. 1 seed again, something we have been able to do two out of the last three years.”
Paul Lecker is publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com, a contributor to Hub City Times Sports. You can reach him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.