Well, it has been a few weeks, State Champs have been crowned, shocking development….Marquette wins the State Title…. so time to wrap it up and move on from 2018. How will the season be judged, that is a tough one. Certainly a success based on their record, some quality wins, some very close games against really good teams….but as well, some disappointment. A few games that got away, not quite good enough to win some big games and an early exit from the playoffs in the most painful fashion. Maybe a season of unrealized expectations says it best. There are high standards at Memorial. Great program, great coaches, great history equals high expectations every year. Advancing to the Sectional Finals is almost expected. A trip to State every few years is the plan and trying to find that elusive State Championship. Memorial is a program that should have a shot every year, so a little bummed with the end of the year. But maybe that is a good thing. Success breeds expectations. Let’s take a look at the season.
BRC: 2nd place finish to Hudson
Winning Streaks: Had winning streaks of 3, 4 and a season best 5 games.
Shut Outs: 8
Goals Scored: 57 2.85/game average
Goals Allowed: 17 .85/game average
Best Win: Madison East 2-1 and Wauwatosa East 3-0 on the same weekend. Best 2 game stretch of the year.
Best Almost Win: Middleton 1-1. Gave up the tying goal very late in the game.
Toughest loss: That’s an easy one. Appleton North. Enough said, epic for all the wrong reasons. Runner Up: Hudson 0-1, a late goal after almost getting a game winner stings pretty hard.
Biggest Surprise: Memorial 0-North 0. First time North was able to earn a tie against Memorial in like 15 years. A sign that maybe this season was not quite meant to be
Best Team Played: Oregon. After going down 2-0 quickly, Memorial was able to steady the ship and manage the rest of the game. Oregon clearly the better team and you thought maybe could be special. They were… they ended their season winning then D2 State Title.
Goals Recap: Mitch Brenner-21, Luke Rosenberger-10, Jared Nunez-6, Will Hartman-4, Alex Sulzer-3, Carlos Verduzco-Justin Smith-Dalton Christopherson 2 each, Jacob Peloquin-Ryder Woodworth-Tyler Hanson-Ashton Johnson-Lucas Zumwalt-Scott Knowlton all with 1 each. Maybe missed a goal or two, but I think this is pretty close.
Goals by Class: Seniors 54%, Juniors 30%, Sophomores 5%, Freshman 11%
Good News: 46% of the goals return with Rosenberger and Nunez combining for 16 goals.
Bad News: Brenner had 37% of the goals, that’s a lot of goals to replace.
2019 Season Preview
So lets take a quick look at what is returning in 2019 and how the team is taking shape.
Attacking: The loss of Brenner will hurt. He was a dynamic scoring threat and had 37% of the goals. Who will step into that role. In the Forward spot there is no obvious choice. Peloquin has played there, but his scoring dipped in 2018 and he played more on the wing late in the season. This will be a developing story…who will step into this important role in the 9 spot.
Wing Play: Some better options here. It feels like Hartman and Smith are ready and able to take on these spots. Scoring ability, crossing ability and good team play make them dangerous out wide.
Midfield: Memorial will be dynamic in this area. Returning Rosenberger, Nunez and Woodworth makes this maybe an All Conference Midfield, except for that darn Kolton Prater at Hudson and maybe Lushi Xiong at North. A bunch of goals may need to come from midfield pending the development of a high scoring striker. All three are capable and dominating midfield may be the key to next years team.
Back Four: Another area of strength. Returning 3 starters along with All Conference player Logan Junker will make the back four tough to beat. Throw in Matt Gyorfi, a healthy Ryan Biwer and fill in that 4th spot with a developing Sophomore or experienced Senior and you have a nice situation on the back line.
GK: Hard to replace a 3 year starter and Co-Conference Player of the Year. Scott Knowlton likely assumes the spot and he will have big shoes to fill. A strong back 4 and dynamic midfield will need to protect him a bit as he grows into the role. Tyler covered up a bunch of defensive hiccups with his GK play and sweeper keeper mentality. A stronger, more experienced defensive group will certainly help the new keeper.
Reserves: Memorial loses 10 Seniors and will need the next wave to step up to fill important roles on the team. The JV squad was dominant all year, so who will step in to take those open spots. Can we find enough scoring , midfield play and defense to round out the team. Can we find that chemistry to build around. Can we make a deep run and get back on top of the BRC. Hudson had it a year, time to take it back! Go Abes!
BIG Rivers All Conference Teams
Memorial: Mitch Brenner (12), Luke Rosenberger (11), Logan Junker (11), Tyler Hanson (12)
Hudson: Kolton Prater (11), Luke Johnson (12), Cole Ober (11)
North: Logan Podolak (12), Lushi Xiong (11)
River Falls: Niko Zoller (12)
Rice Lake: Cole Schnoor (11)
Co-BRC Players of the Year: Kolton Prater and Tyler Hanson
Rice Lake: Logan Severson (12), Ben Kemp (11), Zach Holmstrom (10)
Menomonie: Adam Wilson (12), James Schemenauer (12)
Hudson: Corey Denning (12), Nick Thompson (11)
Memorial: Jared Nunez (9), Simon Larson (12)
River Falls: Connor Weinzurl (12)
North: Alec Reiland (12)
Hudson: Teig O’Kelly (10), Ryan Moothedan (12), Sam Ross (10)
River Falls: Owen Wise (10), Gage Espanet (11)
Memorial: Ryder Woodworth (10), Alex Sulzer (12)
North: Keegan Dehnke (12), Ayden White (11)
Menomonie: Ilari Lahtinen (12)
Chippewa Falls: Ethan Crocker (12)
Rice Lake: Michael Birhle (12)
As a clue to the 2019 year, what can the All Conference Teams tell us. As we look a the teams, how many returning players for each team were recognized. How much talent is returning to guide next years programs.
Let’s look at the two teams who have dominated BRC play for the past 15 years and you will see a nice core to build around. Based on this quick unscientific analysis, Hudson has a slight advantage in players and returning the Player of the Year certainly gives them the edge going into off-season. Feels like these two will battle it out again for the title. Can Memorial replace some lost scoring, find an ace striker and get back to the top. Can Kolton Prater finish off his senior year with back to back POY and a BRC title. Can’t wait!
Hudson: Returns 5 including two 1st Team players as well as the Player of the year, one from 2nd team and two HM. Strong!
Memorial: Returns 4 players including two from 1st Team and one each from 2nd Team and HM. Pretty strong as well.
Rice Lake: Returns 3 players, one from 1st Team.
North: Returns two players, one from 1st Team.
River Falls: Return two from HM.
So as we wrap the season, let’s leave you something fun to take with you in the off-season. Biggest goal of the year nominee.
We will need a lot of these next year from Luke.
And a lot of these as well from Jared.
Keep in touch as we focus more on Premier League an maybe a few winter updates on EC United. Thanks for checking us out!