Oak Harbor boys’ soccer finished a near-perfect and undefeated regular season, won a Sandusky Bay Conference championship, and then advanced to the Division II district semifinals.
After losing to Maumee, 2-1, in overtime in the district semi, the Rockets finished 16-1-1. Third-year coach Ken Filer and his senior midfielder, Tate Haar, are Alan Miller Jewelers Coach of the Year and Co-Player of the Year, respectively. Haar was honored with the Sandusky Bay Conference POY award by league coaches, also.
Haar never complained about having to play midfield — often that is where the coach puts his most athletic and dependable athlete.
“We have a lot of team chemistry,” Haar said. “We had a couple of tournaments (before the season) and played alright and when we had tryouts, we found everybody's strongpoint.
“After my sophomore year, we didn't have a center midfielder, so (Filar) dropped me back and it worked out. I adapted to it really well. Knowing that (senior forward) Connor (Eli) was coming to fill my spot (at forward) made it easier. I worked harder knowing I'd have to be conditioned to play.”
After earning all-league and all-district honors last season, Haar scored 16 goals and set a single-season team record with 28 assists. He was instrumental in helping lead his team to a 15-0-1 regular season, one that saw Oak Harbor storm through every conference opponent unblemished.
Haar was one of four Rockets on the All-Press first team. Joining him are junior attacker Andy Burnette (26 goals, six assists), junior defender Brandon Schimming, and sophomore goalkeeper Kyle Draper.
“Nobody ever talks about how many goals they have,” Filar said. “They're very unselfish and team-oriented.”
Schimming said, “(This season) has been tremendous. Everybody is team-first, nobody's selfish. And nobody's letting up, regardless if we're down or up. Our goals are to get shutouts. We take tremendous pride in (playing defense) — it starts with us and we know that. The forwards thank us when they score and we prevent other teams from scoring and that helps the forwards.
“Coming into this year, we didn't know what to expect. We had a lot of new people and there were some departures from last year. We just want to try our best and we'll never give up.”
|Eastwood senior midfielder Joey Salinas (right) looks to defend Genoa senior midfielder James Waltos.
(Press photo by Harold Hamilton/HEHphotos.smugmug.com)
The fact that three of Oak Harbor’s first team players are underclassmen should bode well for Filar’s team next year.
“Kyle is very young,” Filar said. “He's a sophomore and he didn't play goalkeeper until the last five games of the year. Kyle made some mistakes in the last five games, but he got better. He watches higher level games to see how to play (the ball). He attended the University of Akron camp and he's getting better and playing well.”
Joining Haar as All-Press POY is another senior midfielder, Joey Salinas from Eastwood. The Eagles finished 8-7-1, losing to Northern Buckeye Conference champion Rossford, 3-2, in the sectional tournament.
Although Salinas won the top honor from NBC coaches, Ohio’s coaches gave Rossford junior midfielder Hector Aguirre a second team Division II award. Salinas is joined on the All-Press first team by Eastwood senior midfielder Steven Bradley and senior defender Andrew Davidson.
Woodmore, which won the NBC title a year ago, has one first team selection in Malachi Brown, a senior forward. He did not make all-league voting, but was the highest vote getter among all local schools in district voting, where he was among other first team all-league selections, so The Press honored him with an All-Press first team award.
Brown also excels in football, where the speedster caught 23 passes for 534 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 23.2 yards per catch. That was second only to two Genoa receivers in yards per catch — Quentin Spiess (21 rec,, 621 yards, 29.9 yards, 2 TDs) and Casey Gose (19 catches, 453 yards, 23.8 per catch, 5 TDs).
All-Press soccer teams are carried over from league voting, with some choices adjusted based on district voting and voting when a team plays in two or more leagues.