2013 Season Concludes with Soccer Banquet
Seniors Lauded for Contributions to Program
December 11, 2013
Coach Bud Lewis congratulates the winners of special awards. Pictured from the left are: Nick Baker, Chris Fossett Memorial Most Improved Player Award; Nick Toney, Golden Boot Award as leading scorer with 5 goals and 4 assists; Caleb Betz, Sean Arnold Memorial Coach’s Award; Anton Niklasson, Most Valuable Player; and Martin Holmquist, Golden Brick Defensive MVP.
The men’s soccer team that entered the season expecting to challenge for the Ohio Athletic Conference championship finished the season unable to turn promise and potential into performance.
Coach Bud Lewis’ team finished a disappointing 6-12-2 (3-5-1 OAC) yet it can take away from the campaign a memorable time highlighted by a sense of camaraderie and the shared experience of competing in intercollegiate athletics.
The Quakers held their annual soccer banquet Dec. 7.
Special awards went to senior Anton Niklasson as team Most Valuable Player; junior Martin Holmquist, Golden Brick Defensive MVP; freshman Nick Baker, Chris Fossett Memorial Most Improved Player; and senior Caleb Betz with the Sean Arnold Memorial Coach’s Award. Sophomore Nick Toney won the Golden Boot award as leading scorer with 5 goals and 4 assists (Dan Wicks, Evan Schlagetter and Markus Tornberg also scored 5 goals).
Doug and Karen Schlagetter earned The Game Ball award for their outstanding support of the team.
Named All-OAC were Holmquist, First Team and Defensive Player-of-the-Year; Niklasson, Second Team; and Wicks, Toney and Tornberg, Honorable Mention. The All-Region and All-Ohio teams had not been announced.
Also, Lewis revealed that WC and league champion Ohio Northern were the only OAC teams to earn the National Soccer Coaches’ Association of America’s Team Academic Award for having a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better in 2012-13.
Individuals cited for Quaker Academic Awards were:
Fall 2012, 3.0 to 3.49 — Caleb Betz, Jesse Buhrman, Erik Hammar, Taylor Henderson, Martin Holmquist, Anton Niklasson, Evan Schlagetter, Dan Wicks, Timmy Wiederhold and Ethan Zimpfer; 3.5 to 4 .0 — Jeff Graham.
(LEFT) Jesse Buhrman is pictured in action against Mount Union.
Spring 2013, 3.0 to 3.49 — Caleb Betz, Jesse Buhrman, Ben McMahon and Dan Wicks; 3.5 to 4.0 — Jeff Graham, Erik Hammar, Taylor Henderson, Martin Holmquist, Anton Niklasson, Evan Schlagetter and Timmy Wiederhold.
As Lewis looked back on the 2013 season — his 39th with the program — he cast a wary eye on what he termed as the team’s “lack of off-season preparation” that contributed to a slow start and likely played a role in what turned into an up-and-down campaign.
Indeed, the Quakers’ opening tournament in Lewis’ hometown of Rochester, N.Y., proved very telling, as WC tied the nationally ranked host 1-1 at the half but went on to lose 4-1. The next day, Wilmington took an early 1-0 lead into halftime but came up empty in the final 30 minutes while St. John Fisher pelted them with a pair of second half goals.
After falling to 0-3 with a home loss to Southern Birmingham, WC finally got untracked against Wittenberg in the second match of the WC Kiwanis Tournament. Nick Toney’s two goals and Henrik Hornnaess’ goal and assist proved a high point of the early season.
The Quakers next stole a match at Transylvania on some “outstanding” goalkeeping from Niklasson while Schlagetter broke the scoreless tie in overtime. With a two-match win streak something the team hoped it could build upon, Wilmington dropped the next three games on the road to Earlham, Kenyon and Centre by a 10-1 margin.
With WC’s backs to the wall, nationally ranked and undefeated Denison (#12) came to Wilmington expecting to continue their streat, but Holmquist’s volley into the net on a Graham assist with 10 minutes remaining in regulation tied the contest. That following weekend, the Quakers played a solid match in beating previously undefeated Case Western 2-1 on Wicks’ pair of unassisted goals.
“After Denison and Case, that’s when I started feeling, ‘We’re on a run, we’re ready to go,’” Lewis said.
Visiting Thomas More had other plans, as, in spite of Schlagetter’s two goals, the Quakers’ porous defense allowed four by the Saints.
(RIGHT) Freshman Aaron Basford drives the ball versus Thomas More.
On a trip to Muskingum that opened WC’s conference schedule, the Quakers put together its most impressive offensive performance thus far by trouncing the Muskies 4-0 on goals by Toney and Hornnaess and a pair from Tornberg.
Just as quickly as the OAC scene looked favorable with an opening win and two upcoming home matches, the Quakers played less-than-inspired soccer again as 2-1 wins by Heidelberg (in OT) and Mount Union put Wilmington in an early season hole.
But Schlagetter and Tornberg’s goals, complemented by a stingy defense, combined to shut out visiting Capital and quickly place Wilmington back into contention. WC traveled to Baldwin-Wallace and saw the Yellow Jackets turn the tables on WC’s 3-0 2012 win by returning the favor on their home turf.
With a 2-3 conference mark heading into the homestretch, Wilmington needed wins against two of the league’s weaker teams, Otterbein and Marietta, in its next two matches, both of which were at home.
Tornberg opened the scoring versus Otterbein but the Cardinals responded with three consecutive goals before, late in the match, Drew Fields scored his first of the season to pull WC within one of knotting the score. However, Otterbein netted the dagger late in the match before Zimpfer scored his first goal in the waning seconds.
The Quakers’ final home match was scoreless until Marietta broke the seal in the 70th minute and, with fewer than 10 minutes remaining in regulation time, the Pioneers were called with a foul that resulted in Wicks’ successful PK. Barely a minute into the extra period, the freshman, Tornberg, scored the game winner and his fifth goal against OAC competition.
(LEFT) Henrik Hornnaess moves the ball versus Marietta in WC's final home match at Gilhart Field.
In spite of the win, WC’s 3-4 OAC record meant the Quakers would need to defeat the league’s top two teams on the road the ensure a berth in the OAC Tourney.
The Quakers played Ohio Northern tough but the wily Polar Bears scored in the 79th minute to take the pivotal match. With no chance of a spot in the tournament, Wilmington still played well at John Carroll — missed an opportunity to take the lead on a PK — and ended with season with a tie on the very same field in which the Quakers’ season ended in 2012.
Lewis said this was a team that, at times, played very well, but 3-5-1 won't get you very far in a competitive conference.
“It’s a tough game and sometimes things don’t go your way,” he said. “The last two games (ONU and JCU) have given me a lot of hope after a tough season.”
Seniors praised for impact on the program
Lewis praised his five seniors for their dedication to the program as the group summed up their careers and offered their farewell. They include: Caleb Betz, Jeff Graham, Erik Hammar, Henrik Hornnaess and Anton Niklasson.
Lewis described Betz as a loyal teammate and “student of the game” whose significant contributions to the program cannot be measured in statistics.
“Caleb worked incredibly hard in every practice no matter what he thought were his chances of playing,” he said.
(LEFT) Seniors pictured from the left are: Caleb Betz, Henrik Hornnaess, Erik Hammar, Jeff Graham and Anton Niklasson.
Betz thanked Lewis for the “life lessons” he gained both on and off the field and stressed how much he enjoyed being a part of the team. “Being able to spend almost every day with all of you, my teammates, has given me great memories,” he said. “You don’t know how much you mean to me. You are my brothers and best friends.”
Lewis said he considered his encouraging Graham to return to the team in mid-September one of his best coaching decisions this season. Graham initially opted not to play his senior year. “He loves the game and really likes his teammates,” Lewis said, noting that with 68 games played, 5 goals and 10 assists, he made a great impact from his defender position.
Graham added that his teammates are a “huge reason why I couldn't stay away from the game — thank for accepting me back. And to my fellow seniors, these past four years with you guys have been some of my best times of my life.”
(LEFT) Caleb Betz shares his experience as a four-year team member at the Soccer Banquet.
The coach hearkened Hammar’s “magical” sophomore year in which he scored eight goals, yet, when the forward was unable to match that output the last two seasons, Lewis cited his “incredibly good mentality.”
Hammar, who played 54 matches and scored 15 goals in his WC career, fondly recalled Lewis calling him in Sweden and asking, “If I wanted to be his #15.”
“I’m proud of my college career and I’m proud to have played on Gilhart Field with my teammates,” he said. “I don't regret anything.”
Lewis said he’s never coached anybody with a “better service” on set pieces than Hornnaess, whom the coach moved from the defensive backfield to the midfield and back throughout his time at WC. “Henrik was willing to do whatever he could to help his team,” Lewis noted. Hornnaess played in 72 matches and scored 10 goals with 22 assists.
The Norwegian recalled Lewis calling him on Dec. 9, 2009, “saying he wanted me on the team.” He fondly shared the routine he went through on game days in which he visualized the upcoming match throughout the hours before kickoff.
(RIGHT) Jeff Graham presents Erik Hammar with an autographed photo of himself in response to Hammar's mentions of Graham being his "favorite" WC player.
“It was an awesome feeling stepping on that grass field under the lights on a Wednesday night,” he said.
Lewis said that, after Niklasson endured his injury-plagued first three years, “this was the kind of year Anton was hoping for.” Indeed, he started all regular season games in goal and was recognized by the conference as a Second team All-OAC selection.
Nilkasson played in 28 matches and had five shutouts as goalkeeper. “Anton was outstanding this year,” Lewis said. “Every game he made two or three critical saves. He’s the best goalkeeper I’ve every had with his feet.”
Injuries aside, Niklasson expressed his appreciation and enjoyment of playing with all those teammates and coaches from the last four seasons. “I’ve had four great years and I’ve loved every minute of it,” he said, adding a final word for next year’s returning players. “I think you’ll be great.”