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District championship highlight of soccer season

Gavin Houtkooper

Brett Bremer

Sports Editor

The local varsity boys' soccer teams had their ups and downs this season.

Nobody had a higher high than the Thornapple Kellogg boys who clinched a rare district championship for their program, and then went on to knock off a state-ranked Marshall team in the regional semifinals before ultimately bowing out of the state tournament.

The Trojans had a solid season in the OK Gold Conference, but couldn't quite knock off the league champs from South Christian who advanced all the way to the Division 3 State Final in the state tournament where they were upended in a shoot out by Grosse Ile.

The Sailors started their state tournament run with a victory over the Lakewood Vikings in the Division 3 District Tournament last month.

Lakewood, Hastings, Delton Kellogg and Maple Valley all had their own moments to celebrate, and moments against tough competition.

Here are the 2019 All-Barry County Boys' Soccer First and Second Teams.

2019 All-Barry County

Boys' Soccer First Team

Kirby Beck, Hastings: A junior center midfielder and forward, Beck tied for the team lead in goals with seven and added two assists.

Beck was nominated a team captain this fall.

Steven Bierins, Lakewood: Bierins led the Vikings in goals with 20 in his senior season, adding five assists as well. He was named his team's MVP, a first team all-league honoree and a first team all-district performer.

“Steven played forward for us and was by far our most explosive player,” coach LeVeque said.

Keegan Cook, Hastings: A junior who spent time at center midfield and forward for the Saxons, he led the Saxons with seven goals and added seven assists this season.

Cook was voted all-conference and all-district this season and was nominated to be the team's head captain.

Caleb Fletcher, Lakewood: Fletcher scored seven goals and had seven assists this season by being strong on the ball and showing off a powerful shot. He was named all-conference in the GLAC this season and an all-district player.

“He lives and breathes the game of soccer,” said coach LeVeque.

Tyler Gehres, Thornapple Kellogg: A senior midfielder for the Trojans, he was named all-conference in the OK Gold this fall as well as all-district and all-region.

Gehres had ten goals and four assists on the season.

Caden Goudzwaard, Thornapple Kellogg: The leader of the Trojan attack, Goudzwaard had 27 goals and 14 assists this fall.

Goudzwaard was named all-conference, all-district and all-region this season. All-state awards have yet to be announced, but Goudzwaard was honorable mention all-state in Division 2 a year ago.

Dawson Grizzle, Delton Kellogg: A senior defender and a team captain, Grizzle was a four-year varsity player for the Panthers and was the center of his team's defense. Grizzle was an all-conference honoree in the SAC this season and was an all-district honoree too.

“He was very good at controlling the center of the field defensively and was able to shut down other teams' forwards if they attacked the middle,” coach Mabie said.

Aiden Hannapel, Thornapple Kellogg: A force in the midfield for the Trojans, Hannapel had a goal and ten assists on the season.

Hannapel was named all-conference in the OK Gold this fall while adding all-district honors as well.

Gavin Houtkooper, Delton Kellogg: Houtkooper was the number one goal in the SAC this fall and the number two goal in his district according to coach Mabie. He recorded nine shutouts on the season and had 170 saves. He also stopped two out of the three penalty shots he faced this season.

A junior, Houtkooper was selected to both all-conference and all-district teams for the third time in his three varsity seasons.

Eli Nelson, Maple Valley: A first team all-conference selection in the GLAc as a senior forward for the Lions this fall. He was one of his team's captains. He scored 23 goals and had 7 assists on the year.

“”Unable to contribute on the field for much of the first five matches of the season (due to an injury), Eli's encouraging commitment and faith shined as he continued to be a leader in our trainings from the sidelines. Once back in the line-up, Eli began to contribute in other ways, setting a new single season record for goals at Maple Valley,” coach Andrew Roush said.

Austin Ruth, Thornapple Kellogg: The Trojan's senior goalkeeper was named all-conference, all-district and all-region this season. He had six shutouts on the year, and TK allowed one goal or less in 13 total contests.

Ruth, a senior, was named all-conference in the OK Gold, all-district and all-region this season.

Owen Woods, Thornapple Kellogg: A senior midfielder for this season, Woods recorded six goals and three assists.

Woods was named all-conference honorable mention in the OK Gold and also earned all-district honors this season.

2019 All-Barry County

Boys' Soccer Second Team

Owen Bailey, Maple Valley: A sophomore who split time between the goal and the field for the Lions, he had six goals and ten assists with 41 saves as well. He was named honorable mention All-GLAC this fall.

“Owen is a natural born athlete who did some amazing things this season, but what impressed me the most was how much he grew in the maturity and knowledge of the game. It's great to have a player who can not only fill the stat sheet, but also make others around him better,” coach Roush said.

Dane Barnes, Hastings: The Saxons' senior goalkeeper faced 155 shots this fall and made 117 saves.

Barnes split his time between playing in goal and as an outside midfield wing. He was nominated a team captain this season.

James Blackburn, Delton Kellogg: A freshman who was coach Mabie's “go-to utility player” this fall. He played forward, midfield and some defense, sometimes all in one game. He finished the year with four goals and two assists.

“He played almost every minute of every game,” coach Mabie said.

Zac Collison, Lakewood: A senior center back, Collison took on the role after playing on the outside for the previous three seasons.

He was voted the best defender on his team and was named second team all-conference in the GLAC. “Not a flashy player, but a very solid, consistent defender that put himself in the right places and made the right plays,” said coach LeVeque.

Hunter DeHaan, Thornapple Kellogg: A talented senior midfielder for the Trojans, helping his team to a regional final this year.

DeHaan was named an all-district performer this season as well.

Hector Jimenez, Delton Kellogg: A freshman forward and midfielder for the Panthers, Jimenez closed out his first varsity season with ten goals and three assists. He played nearly every minute of every game for DK.

Jimenez was named honorable mention all-conference and earned all-district honors this season, and also earned all-county honors in cross country this fall as well.

Pablo Nunez, Thornapple Kellogg: Nunez had two goals and four assists from his midfield spot as a senior this fall.

Nunez was named all-district for helping the Trojans to a district championship.

Garrett Pearson, Maple Valley: A senior who split time between forward and goalkeeper for the Lions. He was named second team all-conference in the GLAC. A team captain, he had eight goals and seven assists while also making 169 saves in net.

“I couldn't be more proud of what Garrett did for this team this season. Not just the stats he accumulated, but the little things he did day in and day out for which there is no stat line. Last year he was dubbed 'Mr. Versatile', but this year he was also our 'Mr. Altruistic' who consistently put the needs of the team and others above himself,” coach Roush said.

Kaiden Pratt, Thornapple Kellogg: One of the leaders on the Trojan defense as a junior this fall.

Pratt was named an all-district performer this season helping the Trojans allow just three goals total in their three district contests.

Xander Signeski, Hastings: A junior center defender, Signeski played every minute of every game for the Saxons this fall.

Head coach Tim Schoessel called Signeski the workhorse of his team's defense. Signeski added a goal and two assists as well.

Devin Thompson, Maple Valley: A senior forward, Thompson finished the season with 18 goals and nine assists.

“He was a consistent offensive force for us this season,” coach Roush said. “What I mentioned at the close of last season is still true, regarding Devin being one of those exciting players who you do not want to look away from, because in an instant he can make a great play that changes the course of a match.”

Kaeden Tuitman, Lakewood: A defensive midfielder who was one of the Vikings' top players as a junior this fall. He was named second team all-league and all-district this year.

Tuitman was one of the Vikings' top players, scoring five goals and more importantly to coach LeVeque playing great defense in the midfield. Coach LeVeque said Tuitman looked to shut down other team's best players and was strong at winning balls out of the air.

Alex Walker, Lakewood: The Viking senior stepped in to play goalie for the first time ever this fall and coach LeVeque said he looked like he had been back there for a long time.

Walker had six shutouts on the season and made several big saves to keep the Vikings in games. He was named first team all-conference in the GLAC this season.

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