Men’s Soccer News Archive 2017-2018

Men’s soccer defeats Dodge City 2-1

At home on a beautiful Saturday night, the Larks picked up their second NJCAA Region VI win of the year, defeating the Conquistadors from Dodge City Community College 2-1. This is the first time Hesston College has had multiple NJCAA wins in five years and gets the team to seven wins on the season.

The Larks started off strong with great intensity and a willingness to fight for each other. The persistence paid off when, with 13 minutes left in the half, Nadeem Jaber pounced on an errant touch by the Dodge City keeper and took a few touches pass the defense. Jaber calmly slotted home the game’s opening goal. Just two minutes later, the Larks neglected their marks on a corner kick and the Conqs tied the game. The half ended all knotted at 1.

The second half saw the same high intensity with both teams getting several chances. Captain Luke Hertzler had to come up big a few times for the Larks in net keeping the score line tied. Finally Hesston’s breakthrough came in the 65th minute. A quick outlet from Conquistador pressure saw Josh Jantzi move quickly up the sideline with the ball. A pass across the center to Colin Williams saw him fight through a tackle and find Cain Hernandez. Hernandez quickly found Javier Reyna with a switch of the field and Reyna did the rest. Taking a couple of touches to set himself up, Reyna struck a beautiful 35 yard bomb across goal beating the keeper to put the Larks up 2-1.

“The boys put it all together today,” said Head Coach Matt Gerlach. “The fight and desire was there from the start and continued throughout the entire game.”

The rest of the game was a grind. With a Hesston College defender seeing a second yellow, the Larks had to play with 10 men for the last 15 minutes. “They gave more effort tonight, they completed the game plan with that extra effort and played for each other. They took pride in what they were doing and had a willingness to make great defensive tackles and attacking runs,” said Gerlach. “They earned this victory”

The Larks will be on the road at Garden City Community College on Wednesday and then back home to face Barton Community College on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Larks post gritty win on sophomore night

With homecoming festivities in full swing at Hesston College, the men’s soccer program celebrated their sophomores’ dedication to the school and the program as well as a 1-0 overtime win over the Kansas Wesleyan Coyotes reserves. With tired legs after playing a hard fought game Thursday night, Friday’s heat slowed the game down. The Larks had a majority of the passion and chances in the first half but no one could break the deadlock.

At halftime, six sophomores – Landon Baer, David Gottesman, Dakota Hearrell, Luke Hertzler, Cain Hernandez and Zach Williams – were celebrated as they stood with their family and friends. Coach Matt Gerlach took a moment thank the players. “They struggled and endured. I appreciate their continued commitment to excellence and willingness to fight through the hard times. These six will be a marker of who and what this program is to be for years to come. They persisted and can now take pride in being a Lark, growing as a man and in who and what this team will be in the future. It is because of them that we are who we are today.”

After this celebration, the game was back on. Two goals for the Larks were nullified due to offsides. At the end of regulation, the score was still 0-0. With golden-goal implemented, the pressure was ramped up a bit as the teams took the field for overtime. Only six minutes into the first overtime, Ricardo Pineda played a ball back to sophomore Cain Hernandez who unleashed a rocket from 20 yards. It found the top corner of the net and the game was over.

“It was excellent to grind out a win like that,” said Coach Gerlach. “We pushed through, the sophomores led and willed the team to victory after two consecutive nights of hard fought soccer. It makes me, and should make them, proud.”

This win puts the team’s win total above their total for last year just half way through the season. The Larks look to keep winning this Tuesday when they host Northwest Kansas Tech at home at 7 p.m. and McPherson College reserves on Friday at 7 p.m.

Larks overcome 3-0 deficit in 4-3 win

An exciting game in Hesston as Pratt Community College was in town for the Larks first game of Region VI competition on the west side of the conference this season. Pratt opened the scoring with a goal midway through the first half. Both teams played a lackluster first half with no really good chances other than the goal. Early in the second half Pratt received a penalty which they converted to post a 2-0 lead. Just a few minutes later they scored again and seemed to put the Larks out of reach.

At the 26 minute mark the Larks earned a free kick and Zach Williams stepped up and whipped the ball into the box where Roe Russey nodded it in for Hesston’s first goal of the game, and the comeback was on. A few minutes later, Dawson McCawley played Luis Roque in behind the defense and he slotted the ball past the keeper for number two. McCawley was involved as another cross came into the box and he flicked it on. A few touches later, the Pratt defense gifted the Larks goal number three with an own goal with just 10 minutes until full-time.

“The crowd was full and loud and the energy on the field was electric,” said Head Coach Matt Gerlach about the last ten minutes after the third goal. “We knew we were going to win at that point, we had all the momentum and the guys were finally playing as one.”

With just one minute and 48 seconds the Larks went ahead to complete the comeback. Cain Hernandez turned at midfield and passed to Sammy Rios who finished a beautiful shot over the keeper’s head. “The team really did something special today” said Gerlach. “They started to play for each other, they started really moving the ball and playing up to the potential they have together. If they can put this together for 90 minutes, we will have a chance to do something really special this year.”

Goalkeeper Bryce White had five saves on the day.

The Larks will be on the road Wednesday at Dodge City Community College and back home on Saturday at 7 p.m. against Garden City Community College.

Larks earn 3-0 win over Bluejays

The Larks faced their best competition of the year so far against a well-coached Tabor College reserve squad. Wearing down their opponents, Hesston College ended up with a 3-0 win but it did not come easily. On the back foot for the first 15 minutes, the Larks absorbed pressure and started to find a rhythm.

With 21 minutes left in the first half, Dawson McCawley broke the deadlock for the Larks with a left footed curler from 20 yards. The game continued to go back and forth through the second half until Ricardo Pineda added a second for the Larks. A few minutes later, Zach Williams whipped in a corner kick and McCawley added a third goal, his second of the game, putting the game out of reach.

“I love how we kept grinding and looking for our chances,” said Head Coach Matt Gerlach. “We need to start quicker, be more fluid as a team and play the style of soccer we’ve been working on the last few weeks in practice, but it does feel pretty good to be 3-0.”

The Larks travel to Neosho County Community College on Saturday, September 2, for a 7 p.m. game.

Larks men’s soccer starts strong at home

Friday – Larks 8, Bethany College reserves 1

With the first week of classes over, the Larks took the field for their first two regular season games. The first home athletic contest of the 2017-18 school year could not have gotten off to a better start for the Larks. On Friday night against Bethany College’s reserves, Nadeem Jaber scored twice in the first six minutes to kickoff a four-goal half.

“The boys put pressure on right from the start,” said Head Coach Matt Gerlach. “It was fantastic to get the first game started the right way.”

The rest of the game was all Larks as five other guys got on the score sheet. Four goals in each half gave the Larks an 8-0 lead, only conceding a late goal as the game was well in hand. All 22 healthy players on the roster got major minutes as Coach Gerlach was pleased with the outcome.

“You can never be upset with scoring eight goals, even more excited that each goal came with an assist. It was a fantastic way to start the season.”

Goals (Assists)
Nadeem Jaber (Dawson McCawley)
Nadeem Jaber (Javier Reyna)
Djay Taylor (Sammy Rios)
Dawson McCawley (Anawin Boonpresert)
Landon Baer (Nadeem Jaber)
Djay Talyor (Ricardo Pineda)
Sammy Rios (Djay Taylor)
Cain Hernandez (Daichi Kaminaga)

Sunday – Larks 4, Southwestern Adventist University 1

Sunday afternoon started off in equally good fashion with two quick first half goals for the Larks. Up against Southwestern Adventist University, Dawson McCawley rocketed a missile from the right side past the goalkeeper on a great over the top ball by Roe Russey. Just a few minutes later, Cain Hernandez was fouled in the penalty box and he stepped up and dispatched the penalty kick for the second goal of the game. A few chances on both sides saw Larks’ freshman keeper Bryce White make a great save on a one vs. one chance for the Knights.

A sluggish start to the second half saw the Knights get a goal back after several poor attempts at a clearance for the Larks making the score 2-1. But 15 minutes into the second half, one of the Knights defenders made his second bad foul of the day and saw a second yellow card. With this ejection and the heat of mid-day game, the Larks took full advantage of the game and started pushing for the goal that would finish off the game. It came at the midway mark of the second half, again from Dawson McCawley. McCawley tallied for a third time a few minutes later to seal the victory for the Larks and tally his first collegiate hat trick.

“Being 2-0 is a great way to start the season. Our expectations are much higher than last year,” said Coach Gerlach. “We have a few things we really need to adjust before we get in the NJCAA Region VI competition if we want to make the jump to being competitive. However, I’m proud of winning games and where this team is heading.”

Goals (Assists)
Dawson McCawley (Roe Russey)
Cain Hernandez (PK)
Dawson McCawley
Dawson McCawley

The Larks are back in action at home on Tuesday night against the Tabor College reserves. The game will kickoff at 7 p.m.

Trip fosters brotherhood and service

The men’s soccer team gathered ahead of the rest of the Hesston College fall athletes to travel to the mountains of Colorado. Twenty-three players and two coaches left Sunday, August 6, and headed to Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp (RMMC) near Divide, Colo. The goal of the trip was to get the team together a week earlier to train, build team chemistry and solidify the core covenants of accountability, engagement, community and joy through service.

Moving beetle killed trees off the mountain.
Moving beetle killed trees off the mountain.
After an eight-hour trip and a flat tire, the vans bounced up the mountain to an elevation above 9,000 feet. Bright and early Monday morning (and also Thursday) the team went on a two-mile trail run to the top of Raspberry Mountain, summiting before breakfast at 10,605 feet. After breakfast on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday the team worked with the staff at RMMC cutting down trees revenged by the pine beetle, moving the logs to be sold and the slash to be chipped for mulch to be spread around the camp. All three evenings the team also had a chance to travel about 35 minutes to Woodland Park to get onto the practice field.

Wednesday the team headed to the Royal Gorge and meet Hesston College alumnus and former academic dean Marc Yoder to go white water rafting on the Arkansas River. This was one of many firsts for most of the guys. The ‘firsts’ are really what many of the guys said were the best parts of the trip. First time to see mountains, first time to see snow, climb a mountain, go white water rafting, to go rock climbing and rappelling as well as sleep in heatless cabins in colder than 40 degree weather were all on the ‘firsts’ list for most of the players.

A view from the team's cabins at Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp
A view from the team’s cabins at Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp
“Overall, the trip really brought the guys together,” said Head Coach Matt Gerlach. “They were forced to work together, forced to be tired and pick each other up and they had a lot of fun. It was really a chance for us to get an amazing head start on our season and I believe it has set the bar high for our team chemistry and I hope that will translate to on and off the field success.”

After a half day of work on Friday morning the team got another new opportunity which quickly turned into a highlight, an evening in Colorado Springs and at Garden of the Gods. Here the team ran into former Hesston College soccer player Mark Lakin visiting from Michigan. Taking advantage of another half day of work on Saturday several guys hiked up a 13,000 foot summit near Pikes Peak while others played a 3 on 3 basketball tournament.

Overall, the team helped cut down and clear 27 pine beetle infested trees, moved 20 500 to 1,000 pound logs, spread 20 pickup truck loads of mulch, filled potholes with five tons of dirt and gave more than 600 community service hours as a team. The players had lots of new adventures while experiencing numerous brand new opportunities. Most important they bonded and are more willing and likely to serve each other and their community on and off the field.

The team prepares to go whitewater rafting with former Hesston academic dean Marc Yoder (right).
The team prepares to go whitewater rafting with former Hesston academic dean Marc Yoder (right).

Team photo with former Lark soccer player Mark Lakin, class of '93 (back row, third from left), at Garden of the Gods
Team photo with former Lark soccer player Mark Lakin, class of ’93 (back row, third from left), at Garden of the Gods

Lark men’s soccer hopes to build on success

Hoping to build off the best season in the last five years (5-12-1), the Larks men’s soccer team has high expectations for the 2017 campaign.

“Last year was a tough year” says Head Coach Matt Gerlach. “We had lots of things going against us. Everything from a new coach and new expectations, to young men with serious family situations and even one of our own getting cancer.”

While the team will have only six returning sophomores, coach Gerlach expects big things from each of them. “This year is going to be different,” says Gerlach. “We have a great group of players coming back from this past spring and a wealth of talent joining the team this fall.” Joining those freshman are 17 freshman who have all-state honors, not just in soccer, athletes broke school records and even competed for their countries at different levels.

The excitement, comaradery and team chemistry have the opportunity to begin a week earlier than it did last year. The team will depart on a service, training and team building trip to Rocky Mountain Mennonite Camp near Divide, Colorado, in preparation for the season. “This trip will give players and coaches a chance to get to know each other, work with and for each other and develop a bond that will set the groundwork for a successful season and for seasons and generations to come,” explained Coach Gerlach.

The Larks men’s soccer team kick off their regular season with a weekend home double-header against Bethany College (5 p.m., Friday, Aug. 25) and Southwestern Adventist University (2 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 27).

Nine commit to Larks men’s soccer

The Hesston College men’s soccer team is excited to announce the commitment of nine more student-athletes, completing one of the largest soccer recruiting classes in school history. Joining the Larks will be two players each from Texas, Kansas and Florida and one from Nebraska as well as two international students, from France and Thailand. These nine freshman will join nine others as well as six sophomores to make up the 2017 roster. The team will include players from five countries and eight states.

“This group of freshman should really solidify who we are trying to become and help us accomplish things that have not happened with the men’s soccer team in over a decade,” Head Coach Matt Gerlach commented. “These guys are going to be a vital part of this program moving forward because they already have a desire to be great men, influence the world and make a difference through loving the game of soccer”

The nine new commits and Coach Gerlach’s assessment:

  • Anawin Boonprasert (Thailand) will play a key role in solidifying the defense and starting the attack from the backline.
  • Doron Boyd (Wichita, Kan.-Wichita North High School) has unbelievable athletic talent and will ask a lot of anyone guarding him as he attempts to become a major goal-scoring threat.
  • Giovanni Carrillo (Arlington, Texas-Mansfield Timberview High School) is a quick and fierce defender who will add depth along the backline and quality in the locker-room.
  • Josh Jantzi (Newton, Kan.-Newton High School) brings athleticism and versatility to the Larks roster. He can play outside or in the middle on both sides of the ball.
  • Javier Reyna (Niceville, Fla.-Niceville High School) has quality and brings a level of competition that we have not seen yet. His ability make things happen and being active both on the attack and on defense will really help the Larks on the flanks.
  • Samuel Rios (Harmony School of Ingenuity-Houston, Texas) is a goal scorer. He knows how to find the back of the net and his goal tally after two years here will really surprise people.
  • Luis Roque (Delray Beach, Fla.-Boca Raton Community High School) brings fantastic vision and composure. He will man the flanks and bring quality distribution and attacking flair.
  • Teo Soler (France-Wichita Collegiate School) is a high quality signing in every aspect. He is a hard working fullback that will give this team the best both on and off the field.
  • Colin Williams (Grand Island, Neb.-Grand Island High School) brings a swagger and knack to find a pass and thread the needle as a distributor. He will really challenge backlines with his vision.

The 2017 Larks soccer team hopes to build off of their 5-13-1 record in Coach Matt Gerlach’s second year at the helm.

Giroux hired as assistant men’s soccer coach

Hesston College Head Men’s Soccer Coach Matt Gerlach has announced the hiring of Assistant Coach Jeff Giroux.

Giroux, a Minnesota native, completed his undergraduate studies at Oklahoma Wesleyan University in exercise science. While there he competed on the varsity soccer, track, cross country and golf teams. Giroux has lived in Leeds, England, where he completed a master’s degree in psychology of sports and exercise from Leeds Beckett University. His degree program gave him the opportunity to use his sports psychology knowledge to work with some of Great Britain’s Olympic athletes prior to their competition at the Rio Olympics 2016.

Giroux played semi-professional soccer at Richmond International Academy and Soccer Academy (RIASA) based in Leeds, helping his team (Bradford/RIASA) to a second place league finish, earning a promotion. While in England, Giroux also coached a U-20 semi-professional men’s team and worked as the academy physio at RIASA. He has more than 10 years of coaching experience, is a Certified Personal Trainer and holds many coaching licenses including the FA Level 2, USSF “D”, USSF GK Level 1 and 2 and the NSCAA National Youth License.

“Jeff set himself apart with his love for Christ, education and tremendous work experience with soccer and Olympic athletes,” Coach Gerlach commented. “He is highly qualified and will bring vast insight, commitment and quality on the field and help the team continue to move forward and grow. We will be a better team and better men because he will be with us on the sidelines.”

Mens soccer announces nine commitments for 2017

The Hesston College men’s soccer program is proud to announce the commitments of nine student-athletes to join the Larks for the 2017 season. The Larks welcome three players from Texas and one each from South Dakota, Colorado, Texas, Nebraska and Kentucky. The Larks have also added another international student-athlete (Panama).

The group of nine incoming freshmen will join six returning sophomores to the 2017 fall roster. The Larks expect to add a few more commitments in the coming weeks.

New Additions: Ian Espinosa, Baker, Fla., Baker High School; Dewain Lindo, Houston, Texas, Cypress Falls High School; Jordan Martin, Bennington, Neb., Bennington Senior High School; Dawson McCawley, Longmont, Colo., Skyline High School; Ricardo Pineda Moreno, Panama; Roe Russey, Richmond, Texas, William B. Travis High School; Djay Taylor, Nassau, Bahamas; Bryson White, Fort Worth, Texas, W.E. Boswell High School; Zachary Yoder, Berea, Kentucky, Madison Southern High School.

“We are excited about the direction of our team and the immediate impact this recruiting class is going to make,” Head Coach Matt Gerlach commented. “We have a diverse group of guys who excel on the field. The speed, size and smarts of these guys are going to instantly bring a high quality to practice and give us renewed competitive opportunities in 2017. But what I’m most excited about is the fact that each one of these young men has already started to buy in to what we are doing. We want them to become great men who can influence the world and do great things through the love of the beautiful game.”

  • Ian Espinosa will join the Larks from the FC Dallas club in Florida. A striker that will look to help the Larks.
  • Dewain Lindo is a versatile player that is expected to play a large role for the Larks. Lindo will add to the Larks lineage of strong players from Cypress Falls H.S.
  • Jordan Martin can play anywhere in the defensive line, and will be one of two Nebraskans joining the Larks in 2017.
  • Dawson McCawley, an all-state forward from Colorado, scored 24 goals and added nine assists his senior year while leading the Eagles to the first round of the 4A state playoffs. McCawley was named 4A Tri Valley Conference player of the year.
  • Ricardo Pineda Moreno joins the Larks from the Central American nation of Panama. A versatile player who is expected to see time in the midfield for Hesston in 2017.
  • Roe Russey, a physically imposing player at 6’7″, is a highly touted player from the Houston area who will see time at defense and midfield.
  • Djay Taylor, a speedy player from Nassau, has already represented his nation of the Bahamas at the U-23 level. Taylor has enrolled at Hesston College for the spring 2017 semester.
  • Bryson White, an all-region goalkeeper from the Fort Worth area, posted an impressive 13 shutouts, 121 saves and 12 goals against in his senior season.
  • Zachary Yoder, a grandson of chemistry professor Jim Yoder, brings quality to the midfield.

The Larks will look to improve on their 5-13-1 record under their first season with coach Gerlach.

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.