Men’s Soccer News Archive 2016-2017

Men’s Soccer adds Ohio midfielder

Hesston College Men’s Soccer announces Landon Baer, a center/outside midfielder from South Range High School, North Lima, Ohio, as the newest addition to the Larks program.

A first-team all-county performer and four-year letter-winner, Baer helped fuel a South Range High program that captured a pair of regional titles, a state runner-up finish, and three district and league championships over the past four years.

Baer took home the Scholar Athlete Award as well as the Robinette Scholastic Award. He will study computer science at Hesston.

Baer attends North Lima Mennonite Church. He is the son of Gareth and Karla Baer, North Lima.

Men’s Soccer signs Virginia keeper

Hesston College Men’s Soccer announces Luke Hertzler, a goalkeeper from Eastern Mennonite School, Harrisonburg, Va., as the newest addition to the Larks program.

Hertzler is a four-year letter-winner for EMS and helped the team to a 14-4-2 regular season record in 2015, including an 8-0-1 conference mark. EMS captured a conference championship and finished state runner-up. Hertzler was a mainstay in the net, starting every game and recording seven shutouts and 72 saves.

Currently ranked first in his class, Hertzler is an honor roll student and National Honor Society member. He will study bible and ministry at Hesston College.

Hertzler attends Weavers Mennonite Church, Harrisonburg, and is active in the youth group there. He is the son of Jerry and Lisa Hertzler, Harrisonburg.

Gerlach takes helm of men’s soccer

Hesston College athletic director Rob Ramseyer announced the hiring of Matt Gerlach as head coach of the Larks men’s soccer program. Gerlach succeeds Michael Armstrong, who served as head coach for the past two seasons and who led the program in the 2015 season to its most season wins in 11 years.

“Joining the coaching staff at Hesston College is a really exciting opportunity for me,” said Gerlach. “The college’s mission to ‘educate and nurture each student within Christ-centered community, integrating thought, life and faith for service to others in the church and the world’ really speaks to why I have been coaching over the last nine years and my heart for student-athletes. At Hesston, I will be allowed to invest in the lives of young people who are willing and excited about making a positive change in the world for Christ – we will just happen to be playing soccer, too.”

Gerlach has extensive experience both as a player and coach from youth leagues through collegiate programs. As a player, he was a four-year starter at NAIA competitor Huntington (Ind.) University, as well as team captain during his senior year.

For more than eight years, Gerlach has been coaching soccer at both the high school and college level. He has served as varsity girls’ soccer at Rutherford High School (Panama City, Fla.) since 2012, restoring the program from nine players to more than 50 and gaining regional success. Gerlach also served as assistant men’s soccer coach at Huntington University for two years, helping the program to a NAIA national ranking. For more than 10 years he has organized and coached youth leagues and camps in several states.

“We are excited to welcome Matt and his family to Hesston College,” said Ramseyer. “His experience and commitment to Christian higher education is most evident, and his ability to mentor and lead our student-athletes will continue to strengthen and build on the work of Michael Armstrong.”

Gerlach earned a bachelor’s of science in recreation and sports ministry from Huntington University, and is working toward a master’s of education in coaching from Ohio University (Athens), with anticipated completion of June 2016. He also has a diploma from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (Kansas City, Kan.).

Since 2009, Gerlach has served as minister of recreation and director of digital media for First United Methodist Church in Panama City, Fla., where he establishes and directs recreational programming, including sports leagues, craft shows, art programs, community civic events and more. He previously served as program director for Huntington (Ind.) Parks and Recreation.

Gerry Sieber to be inducted into NJCAA Soccer Hall of Fame

Former Hesston College men’s soccer coach Gerry Sieber will soon enter elite company, as the longtime mentor of the Larks’ winningest program is set to enter the NJCAA Hall of Fame during the NJCAA Division I Soccer Banquet, Sunday, Nov. 15 in Martinsville, Virginia. Sieber joins 91 other coaches, contributors and players already named to the NJCAA Soccer Hall of Fame.

Sieber coached the Hesston men’s program for 23 years, reaching double digit wins in 17 seasons while compiling a staggering 247 wins and leading the Larks to twelve Region VI titles. Sieber coached twenty-two NJCAA All-Americans and was named Coach of The Year eight times. His 1972 team advanced to the NJCAA National Tournament and his 1979 squad (pictured below) finished 16-1-1.

“It’s a pretty significant honor,” Sieber said. “It’s exciting. It’s rewarding. It’s humbling. It’s totally unexpected. I’d figured everything in my soccer career was in my past. I’m most appreciative of it.”

Despite the many on-the-field accolades, Sieber’s fondest memories of his time leading the program were centered around the relationships formed with the many players, coaches, faculty and staff members, and friends that he interacted with.

“Hesston College has had a tremendous positive influence on my life,” Sieber said. “I was humbled by the responsibility to mentor, nurture and help shape young lives; and to be mentored, shaped, nurtured and empowered in this special community that I was privileged to be a part of.”

During an on-campus celebration held Nov. 11, several long-time colleagues representing many departments spoke of Sieber’s many contributions to the campus and the care he gave to his players. Nearly all conversation in the event had little or nothing to do with soccer. For Sieber, the Hesston Experience was, and remains, a shared one. It’s about the intimate life-changing experiences and intertwining interactions between students, faculty and staff.

“It remains very exciting for me to feel strong connections with the large family that is the extended Hesston College community, Sieber added. “The tie that binds is strong and empowering.”

Sieber helped to relaunch the Hesston College cross country men’s and women’s programs in 2010 and continues to coach the programs today.

1979 Hesston College Men’s Soccer Team

The 1979 Hesston College Men's Soccer Team
Front row: Rick Stehman, Stuart Landis, Rob Ganger, Mike Martin, Ben Fahndrich, Daryl Myers.
Middle row: Donavan Hochstetler, Don Leakey, Dean Leatherman, Paul Miller, Kurt Eby, Brad Eigsti, Ed Landis.
Back row: Gerry Sieber, don Brunk, Ken Shank, Jeff Brunk, Craig Brunk, Pete Brenneman, Dave Kanagy, Merrill Miller, Dave Hostetler, Ron Koppenhaver

Larks victorious on Sophomore Night

The Hesston College men’s soccer team closed its home schedule in style on Tuesday, Oct. 20, blanking Wentworth Military Academy (Lexington, Mo.) 3-0 as the Larks celebrated Sophomore Night.

Freshman Ryuta Hayakawa’s (Kyoto, Japan) goal in the first half was the only score by either team in a tightly contested first half. The Hesston defense held its own and the Larks took a lead into the final 45 minutes.

It was all Hesston after the break, as the Larks dominated play on both ends. Guershon Safari (Boise, Idaho) scored off a beautiful crossing pass to make it 2-0 with 13 minutes remaining. In the 81st minute, Safari again found the back of the net with a blast from 30 yards out that snuck under the crossbar to put the match away.

Playing his final home match, sophomore keeper Oliver Wisseman (Prineville, Ore.) was again stellar in goal, stopping four shots in the win. Wisseman dove to his right for a great save with a minute remaining to preserve the Larks’ fifth shutout of the year.

Hesston travels to Goodland, Kan. for a 3 p.m. (MST) match against Northwest Kansas Technical College on Saturday, Oct. 24.

Safari’s late goal gives Hesston a win

The Hesston College men’s soccer team earned a 1-0 shutout victory over Coffeyville (Kan.) CC on Saturday, Oct. 17, giving the Larks six wins on the year.

On a cool, cloudy evening, the Larks and Red Ravens locked horns in a scoreless first half with both teams playing an aggressive and physical brand of soccer. Neither team was able to find the back of the net through the first 45 minutes. Finally, in the 73rd minute, freshman Guershon Safari (Boise, Idaho) scored with an assist from Zach Stauffer (Belleville, Pa.) to ignite the home crowd and give Hesston a 1-0 lead.

Sophomore keeper Oliver Wisseman (Prineville, Ore.) was solid in the net as the Hesston defense notched its fourth shutout of the year.

Winners of three of its last four, Hesston Men’s Soccer hosts Wentworth Military Academy (Lexington, Mo.) for a 7 p.m. match on Tuesday, Oct. 20.

Larks notch exciting 2-1 home win

The Hesston College men’s soccer team edged Tabor College JV (Hillsboro, Kan.) by a 2-1 count on Monday, Oct. 12, for its second win in a row.

On a beautiful night for soccer, the teams battled through a scoreless first half before Tabor gained a 1-0 lead near the beginning of the second half. An own goal in the 64th minute tied the match at one apiece.

The Hesston offense put consistent pressure on the Tabor defense throughout the second half but came up just short on several scoring opportunities. Finally, in the 85th minute, the Larks broke through when freshman Guershon Safari (Boise, Idaho) used a nifty move to elude a defender and blasted home the game-winner with 4:13 to play.

A free kick by Tabor with a minute to play was snuffed out by Hesston keeper Oliver Wisseman (Prineville, Ore.) to preserve the win. Wisseman put on another great effort in the win, as the sophomore turned away several scoring chances for Tabor.

The Larks improve to 5-11 on the season. Hesston men’s soccer plays a 4 p.m. match at Oklahoma Wesleyan University JV (Bartlesville) on Wednesday, Oct. 14.

Second-half outburst gives Larks big road win

The Hesston College men’s soccer team took to the road on Monday, Sept. 28 at Bible Baptist College (Springfield, Mo.) and came away with a 6-0 win, improving its mark to 3-9 on the year.

With no score entering the final 45 minutes, the Hesston offense exploded to take the match going away. Leonardo Arruda’s (Sao Paulo, Brazil) goal in the 52nd minute commenced the scoring with the assist to Guershon Safari (Boise, Idaho). Abraham Morales (Morristown, Tenn.) made it 2-0 in the 68th minute with the assist from Josiah Borst (Becker, Minn.)

Then, in just a six-minute span, the Larks opened the floodgates with four additional goals to put the match away. Safari scored in the 73rd minute (assist to Esteban Michel – Liberal, Kan.), followed by a Michel goal of his own. Arruda and Borst added goals to set the final.

The Larks out-shot Calvary 21-5, with Oliver Wisseman (Prineville, Ore.) recording the shutout. Hesston held a 7-2 advantage in corner kicks.

Hesston hosts Garden City (Kan.) CC at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3.

Hesston rally comes up short

The Hesston College men’s soccer team dropped a 5-2 match to Kansas City Kansas CC on Tuesday, Sept. 8, putting its record at 2-4.

The Larks trailed 2-0 at the break and 3-0 in the 57th minute when freshman Leonardo Arruda (Sao Paulo, Brazil) brought the home crowd to its feet with a goal to pull Hesston within two. Just two minutes later Shuhei Watsuka (Nara, Japan) capitalized to pull to 3-2.

A scrappy Hesston squad kept fighting throughout the remainder of the match but was unable to score again. KCK added two late goals to set the final. KCK outshot Hesston 14-9.

Hesston plays a 6 p.m. match on Sunday, Sept. 13 at Rose State College (Midwest, Okla.).

Larks make it two in a row with overtime win

The Hesston College men’s soccer team scored an exciting 2-1 overtime win over Central Christian JV (McPherson, Kan.) on Wednesday, Sept. 2, evening its record at 2-2.

Freshman Thomas Minor (Tonganoxie, Kan.) send the crowd home happy by knocking in the winning goal six minutes into the overtime period. Esteban Michel (Liberal, Kan.) broke a scoreless tie with a nifty shot in the 33rd minute. A Central Christian penalty kick with just over a minute remaining in the half evened the match at 1-1.

Hesston keeper Oliver Wisseman (Prineville, Ore.) played a spectacular game in the net for the Larks, as the sophomore stopped a pair of breakaway shots in the 21st and 33rd minute, respectively, and added a terrific save on a header from point-blank range in the 42nd minute. Wisseman added another great diving stop in the second half and finished with 7 saves.

The Larks travel to Dodge City (Kan.) CC for a 7 p.m. match on Saturday, Sept. 5.

Men’s Soccer earns blowout win

The Hesston College men’s soccer team got in the win column with a 10-0 blanking of Calvary Bible College (Kansas City, Mo.) on Saturday, Aug. 29, improving the Larks to 1-2 on the year.

Sophomore Cody Lebert (Douglas, Wyo.) started a busy day for the Hesston offense with a goal in the sixth minute. Esteban Michel (Liberal, Kan.) found the back on the net minutes later to make it 2-0. Michel enjoyed a big night, as the sophomore registered five shots on goal, two of which found their mark.

In the 14th minute, Guershon Safari (Boise, Idaho) scored, followed by a fourth Hesston goal in the 25th minute off the foot of Ryuta Hayakawa (Kyoto, Japan). Michel scored his second of the night less than a minute later and Hayakawa added his second score in the 27th minute to give Hesston a commanding 6-0 halftime lead.

Second-half goals by Christian Buerge (Garden City, Mo.), Leonardo Arruda (Sao Paulo, Brazil) and Justin Short (Corry, Pa.) extended the lead to 9-0. Lebert closed the scoring in the 75th minute with his second goal of the night.

The Larks enjoyed a 18-1 advantage in shots on goal and a 3-0 edge in corner kicks.

Hesston looks to even its record when Central Christian College JV (McPherson, Kan.) comes to town for a 7 p.m. match on Wednesday, Sept. 2.

Neosho tops Hesston in hard-fought match

The Hesston College men’s soccer team suffered a 4-0 setback to Neosho County CC (Chanute, Kan.) on Tuesday, Aug. 25, dropping the Larks to 0-2 on the year.

Throughout a physical first half, Hesston sophomore keeper Oliver Wisseman (Prineville, Ore.) kept the game scoreless with several nice saves, including a diving stop on a low corner shot in the 27th minute. Neosho punched in a goal in the 38th minute to take a 1-0 lead into the break.

The visiting Panthers kept up the pressure in the final 45 minutes, scoring three additional goals to set the final score.

The Larks travel to Kansas City, Mo., for a 2 p.m. match with Calvary Bible College on Saturday, Aug. 29.

Men’s Soccer adds pair to recruiting class

Hesston College men’s soccer coach Michael Armstrong announces Adrian Michel, a midfielder/defender from Liberal (Kan.) High School, and William Mendez, a defensive midfielder from Cypress Falls High School, Houston, as the newest additions to the Larks 2015 recruiting class.

A first-team all-Western Athletic Conference and second-team all-state selection his senior year, Michel was voted his team’s Most Valuable Defender in 2015.

Michel was a key part of Liberal High’s consecutive WAC and regional championships in boys soccer the past two seasons.

“Adrian brings needed technical quality and pace to our back line,” Armstrong said. “He has the versatility to move up the pitch and provide us a different look from the flanks.”

Michel will study architecture at Hesston College. He is the son of Esteban and Maria Michel, Liberal.

A team MVP and all-district performer as a senior, Mendez was team captain for Cypress Falls High in 2015. An honor roll student, Mendez will study pre-physical therapy at Hesston.

“I’m excited to have Will join us,” Armstrong said. “He brings vision and the ability to quickly transition from defense to the attack. He also provides us depth in the center of the park to help disrupt the oppositions attack.”

Mendez is the son of William and Sandra Mendez, Houston. He attends Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Houston.

Men’s Soccer adds Keeler to 2015 recruiting class

Hesston College men’s soccer coach Michael Armstrong announces Kevin Keeler, a keeper at Hebron High School, Carrolton, Texas , as the newest addition to the Larks 2015 recruiting class.

A first-team all-district player as a senior, Keeler was a co-captain and MVP for Hebron boys soccer.

“Kevin brings to us a great amount of athleticism and ability at the goalkeeper position,” Armstrong said. “We’re excited to watch him accelerate his skills and make an impact on our team both on and off the field.”

Keeler is the son of Lee and Kathy Keeler, Carrolton. A National Honor Society member, he will study human resources at Hesston. He attends Elevate Life Church, Frisco, Texas.

Men’s Soccer signs Harrisonville (Mo.) senior to letter-of-intent

Hesston College men’s soccer coach Michael Armstrong announces Chris Buerge, a center mid/center back from Harrisonville (Mo.) High School, as the newest addition to the Larks 2015 recruiting class.

A captain at Harrisonville High, Buerge was a first-team all-conference and first-team all-district player his senior year, and an all-district player his junior season. Aside from soccer, he ran track his senior year.

Buerge earned first-team academic all-conference recognition as a senior and will study aviation at Hesston.

“I’m happy to add an experienced player like Chris who brings a great understanding of different systems of play and a passion for the game,” Armstrong said. “His experience and versatility will be an asset to our program.”

Buerge is the son of Greg and Amy Buerge, Harrisonville. He attends Harrisonville Community Church and is active in the youth group there.