Men’s Soccer News Archive 2016-2017

Larks blank Bulldogs to end season

The Hesston College men’s soccer team used two first half goals to defeat the visiting McPherson College Bulldogs (reserves) 2-0 on sophomore night at Hesston College.

It didn’t take long for Hesston to strike as sophomore striker Guershon Safari (Boise, Idaho) capitalized on a defensive error calmly dribbling past the goalkeeper and firing into an open net for a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute. The Larks continued on the front foot after the first goal and scored again in the 17th minute when sophomore Ryuta Hayakawa (Kyoto, Japan) slipped past a few defenders before beating the Bulldogs goalkeeper for a 2-0 lead. The second half provided a few more quality opportunities on goal for the Larks, but they were unable to add the third goal.

“These sophomores have fought for the program, worked for everything they have,” said Coach Gerlach following the win. “They deserved to be sent off the right way and tonight we were able to accomplish that.”

Sophomore captains Chris Buerge (Garden City, Mo.) and Thomas Minor (Tonganoxie, Kan.) were solid defensively on the night, and freshman goalkeeper Luke Hertzler (Harrisonburg, Va.) made six saves to preserve the shutout for the Larks.

Men’s soccer closes the season with a 5-12-1 record.

Men’s Soccer outlasts Blue Jays 4-3

The Hesston College men’s soccer team came from 1-0 down to take a 2-1 and 3-2 lead eventually holding on to beat the visiting Tabor College Blue Jays JV 4-3. The win is the second of the season for the Larks, now 2-6-1.

Sophomore Ryuta Hayakawa (Kyoto, Japan) scored a beautiful free kick goal to break the deadlock giving the larks a 3-2 lead in the 80th minute and added two assists. Tabor responded minutes later to even things back up at 3-3. After relentless pressure on the Jays goal, sophomore Guershon Safari (Boise, Idaho), who created numerous goal scoring opportunities, scored the game winner on a goal mouth scramble.

“The guys have been playing really well over the last few weeks against top competition. We have a lot to clean up and correct but the resiliency and fight to come away with the victory is something to be excited about. We are continually moving forward,” said Head Coach Matt Gerlach.

Freshman goalkeeper Luke Hertzler made four saves to get the win for Hesston. Men’s soccer will have a few days off, before they prepare for a match with Garden City CC on Saturday Oct. 1. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Men’s soccer storms back to force draw with NW Kansas Tech

The Hesston College men’s soccer team came back from a 3-0 second half deficit to tie the Mules of Northwest Kansas Technical College (2-2-2).

After trailing 2-0 at halftime, then 3-0 midway through the second half, the Larks found some rhythm in scoring three goals in a twenty minute span. Freshman Dakota Hearrell (Houston, Texas) scored his first two collegiate goals for the Larks, his second coming with only 30 seconds remaining in the second half to force overtime. Neither team scored in the ten minute extra time period.

Men’s soccer (1-5-1) will return to the pitch Friday, Sept. 24, when they host Barton Community College. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Men’s soccer drops battle to Garden City CC

The Larks were on the losing end of a tough match as they fell 2-0 to a gritty Broncbusters team. In a fast and physical encounter, both teams exchanged hard tackles and quality play. Garden City CC went on the board with a goal at the 25′ minute mark to relieve some pressure from the home crowd. Garden City enjoyed a slim 1-0 lead at halftime.

Hesston College dominated the opening 15 minutes of the second half, sophomore Zach Stauffer (Bellview, Pa.) missing the goal by inches. The Broncbusters responded quickly, extending the lead to 2-0 In the 75′ with a goal on a counter attack against the run of play.

“It’s hard to keep preaching moral victories, but if the guys keep playing with the passion, intensity and quality they showed from the second they stepped onto the field for practice Wednesday through last night’s battle, these moral victories will turn into actual victories of the field.” Coach Gerlach said.

Freshman goalkeeper Luke Hertzler (Harrisonburg, Va.) was fantastic all night, making ten saves to keep the Larks within striking distance.

Men’s soccer travels to Goodland Tuesday to take on Northwest Kansas Technical College, a team that defeated the Larks 1-0 earlier this season. Kickoff is 5 p.m. (M.D.T.)

Larks men’s soccer drops close 1-0 match to Northwest Kansas Tech

The Hesston College men’s soccer team (1-3) fell 1-0 to the Mavericks of Northwest Kansas Technical College (Goodland) on Tuesday night.

It proved to be a physical match with fouls and yellow cards issued throughout. The Mavericks scored the only goal in the 44th minute. The Larks responded well in the second half with better tempo and physicality but were unable to unlock the Mavericks defense.

Freshman goalkeeper Luke Hertzler (Harrisonburg, VA) made a few key saves to keep the Larks within a goal.

HC returns to action on Thursday, hosting Central Christian at 7 p.m.

Men’s soccer blanks Bulldogs for first win

Hesston men’s soccer defeated the McPherson Bulldogs (JV) squad 2-0 in front of an energetic crowd on Friday night, Sept. 2. HC finally hit the field after consecutive rain-outs forced games to be postponed and later canceled mid-week.

Seeking the first win of the early season, the Larks (1-2) controlled the first half, outshooting McPherson 7-2. Sophomore Ryuta Hayakawa (Kyoto, Japan) scored his second goal of the season coming off a nice pass from freshman Dakota Hearrell (Houston, Texas).

The second half picked up where the first left off. It was sophomore Josiah Borst (Becker, Minn.) capitalizing with a one on one with the goalkeeper, calmly slipping a shot into the net minutes into the half to push the lead to 2-0. The Larks continued strong play in the second half and rode out the Bulldogs’ challenges, giving coach Matt Gerlach his first win as Larks’ Head Coach.

Men’s soccer returns to action at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 6, hosting Northwest Kansas Technical College (Goodland, Kan.).

Men’s soccer falls to Red Dragons in season opener

The Hesston College Men’s Soccer team couldn’t overcome a sluggish first half and fell 3-1 to Wentworth Military Academy (Lexington, Mo.) in the Aug. 27, head coaching debut for Matthew Gerlach. The Red Dragons struck first in the 16th minute. After a second goal at the 30 minute mark, the Red Dragons scored again, seconds before halftime, to take a 3-0 lead.

The second half was a different story as the Larks held most of the possession and quality opportunities, outscoring Wentworth 1-0 in the second half. Sophomore, Ryuta Hayakawa (Kyoto, Japan) scored the lone goal on a penalty kick, and the first of the season for the Larks, in the 87th minute. Sophomore Guershon Safari (Boise, Idaho) had four shots on target to lead the Larks. Freshman goalkeeper Luke Hertzler (Harrisonburg, Va.) made four saves in goal and played the entire 90 minutes.

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.