Men’s Soccer News Archive 2018-2019

Eight Lark sophomores announce transfer plans

The following sophomores plan to graduate this spring and continue their education and athletic opportunities at schools across the country. Here is where the current commits are heading:

Cross Country and Track

  • Samantha Trejo (Lyons, Kan.): Bethany College (Lindsborg, Kan.) – NAIA

Men’s Soccer

  • Anawin Boonprasert (Bangkok, Thailand): Middle Georgia State University (Macon, Ga.) – NAIA
  • Bryson White (Fort Worth, Texas): Sterling College (Sterling, Kan.) – NAIA

Women’s Soccer

  • Kassandra Ayala (San Antonio, Texas): Bethel College (North Newton, Kan.) – NAIA


  • Kaylen Lassley (Salina, Kan.): Friends University (Wichita, Kan.) – NAIA


  • Jade Gleason (Brush, Colo.): Bethel College (North Newton, Kan.) – NAIA
  • Cassidy King (Cochranville, Pa.): Lancaster Bible College (Lancaster, Pa.) – NCAA D III
  • Annalys Hanna (Winter Park, Colo.): Hesston College (Bachelors in Nursing) – Soccer

Hesston College is a 2-year college associated with the Mennonite Church USA. The Larks compete in the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference and Region VI of the National Junior College Athletic Association. Hesston College competes in fourteen intercollegiate sports.

Six to join Lark men’s soccer in the fall

Hesston College men’s soccer coach Matt Gerlach announces the addition of six members of the Larks soccer team. Tanner Anderson, Jacob Boller, Tyler Britt, Mauricio Cruz, Spencer Steinhoff and Tanner Unruh will join the Larks for the 2019-20 season.

Tanner Anderson is a center back from Shawnee, Kansas. He helped hold down the back line on a Shawnee Mission Northwest High School team that were 6A regional champions. “Tanner brings intelligence and an understanding of how to work hard with a winning mentality,” said Head Coach Matt Gerlach. Anders plans to major in aerospace engineering and aviation.

Jacob Boller hails from Kalona, Iowa. He has great connections with Hesston College, a place where several of his family members have attended in the past. “Jacob brings intensity and ‘punches above his weight’,” said Gerlach. Boller will play out wide and bring a dynamic and hard-nosed work-rate to the attack. He will attend Hesston College as a presidential scholar from Iowa Mennonite School and plans to majoring in youth ministry.

Tyler Britt is another intelligent soccer player who plays along the back line. “As a coach’s son, Tyler understands the game very well and will be helpful in our desire to successfully carry out any game plan,” Gerlach said. Britt will graduate from Westmoore High School in Oklahoma City. He plans to major in sports management.

Mauricio Cruz arrived on campus for the spring semester for the Larks. Cruz is from Condado Santa Rosa, El Salvador, and is majoring in business. “Mauricio has been a joy to have arrive early as he has acclimated instantly with the team and is a unifier for his teammates,” said Gerlach. Mauricio will compete for a starting spot along the backline as a center back.

Spencer Steinhoff captained his team to the Kansas High School Athletic Association State Finals at Maize South High School. Steinhoff played multiple positions for his high school team, but will suit up for the Larks primarily as a midfielder. “Spencer is committed to what the team is about and wants to help grow this program,” said Gerlach. “I love his game mentality and team-first attitude.” Steinhoff plans to major in secondary education.

Tanner Unruh is a goalkeeper from Washington, Illinois. He has connections with Hesston College with both of his parents and other relatives having attended. “Tanner brings a great desire to do things the right way,” said Gerlach. “His hard work on the field and in the classroom will be contagious.” Tanner plans to major in engineering and has earned a presidential scholarship.

Lark men’s soccer takes win over Bulldog reserves

With more than seven inches of rain in three days, Sieber field was not ready to host a contest between Hesston College and the Bulldogs of McPherson College on Tuesday, October 9. The match was moved to McPherson’s turf field where the Larks defeated the Bulldogs reserve team 1-0.

On this cool October evening, the Larks ended up with the lion’s share of possession. In the opening 20 minutes, the Larks created several chances and earned corners but they could not quite capitalize on the opportunities. With about 20 minutes remaining in the first half, a nice ball popped out to Ian Ellis on the wing. He played it through the channel to forward Sammy Rios. Rios’ run and the ball beat the last defender and he was in with the goalkeeper. Reacting to the ball, the keeper came out to make a save and got a hand on the ball. Only the Bulldog keeper did so five yards outside of the penalty box and a free kick was awarded to the Larks just to the right of the goal. With a dummy run over the ball freezing the goalkeeper, Djay Taylor stepped up a struck a left-footed curler around the wall. It took a nasty hop just inside the six-yard box making it impossible for the keeper to get a hand on. The Larks took the lead and did not look back.

The rest of the game saw Hesston College maintain a majority of possession and the majority of chances. The Larks outshot the Bulldogs 9-2 and had the 6-1 advantage on corners. Freshman Daniel Ganoza got his first collegiate win and shutout posting 2 saves.

The Larks will resume Kansas Jayhawk Conference play on Saturday as they host Garden City Community College at 7 p.m.

Soccer field to bear coach’s name

The Hesston College soccer field underwent some upgrades during the summer with leveling and resurfacing and a new scoreboard installed earlier this week, and its transformation will soon be complete when it gains the name Sieber Field.

The pending name honors coach Gerry Sieber, who coached Lark student-athletes in a several sports for 30 years – 23 years of which were as men’s soccer coach. Sieber retired in December 2017.

The naming ceremony will take place on the soccer field about 5:45 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 29, between the women’s and men’s soccer games. A time to visit with and recognize Coach Sieber will be held immediately following the naming ceremony, during the men’s soccer game at the newly bestowed Sieber Field. The ceremony is also part of the college’s Homecoming Weekend activities, which will celebrate 60 years of intercollegiate Lark athletics.

“We are grateful to Gerry for his many years of dedication to Hesston College and our student-athletes,” said President Joseph A. Manickam in an email to faculty and staff. “His commitment to the school, our students and the Hesston Experience deserves recognition in this lasting way.”

Sieber, who is a 1964 Hesston College graduate, returned to his alma mater as a coach in 1968. Over the next 23 years he coached basketball, track and field and, primarily, soccer, where he tallied 247 wins, ten region titles, led 22 players who earned National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) All-American honors, and earned Coach of the Year eight times. During those years, Sieber also taught wellness classes and served as athletic director.

In 2010, after almost 20 years away from Hesston College, Sieber returned to develop a men’s and women’s cross country team, which he also coached for seven years prior to retirement. In 2015, Sieber was inducted into the NJCAA Soccer Hall of Fame for his successes leading the Lark program.

Aside from the many performance-related accolades his teams earned, Sieber was also known for taking genuine interest in his student-athletes apart from their athletic development and focusing on the development of the whole person. When he moved on from Hesston College nine months ago, his efforts to build genuine community and camaraderie were recognized and celebrated as much as his successful teams.


Lark men defeat Swedes

Men’s soccer took home their first win of the year on Friday night. The Larks defeated the Swedes of Bethany College (reserves) 4-1. The Larks were at full strength for the first time in the season, getting several key freshman back after long injury absences. Sophomore Sammy Rios led the line with his first career collegiate hat trick.

The Larks started off with a bang. Two minutes into the game the Larks made a simple interception in the backline and Jonathan Ortiz played a quick outlet ball to center forward Ian Ellis who came back to collect. A quick turn and pass to an onrushing Roe Russey sprung the Larks attack going from one box to another in just three touches. Russey coolly finished the surging Bethany keeper at the Larks had their opening goal.

The second goal came 20 minutes later after the Larks moved the ball through the midfield and wide to the right. Several passes later the ball moved to the left and found the feet of Ian Ellis. He saw Sammy Rios making a run at the penalty spot. Ellis lifted the ball over the backline and found Rios for the uncontested header over the keeper.

Another goal came from Rios with just a few minutes left in the half. Sammy made a late run into the box and Russey found him with the slip pass. Rios blew the ball by the keeper with a one-time finish from just inside the box. Moments before halftime, the Swedes pulled one back as some good passing and connections beat the backline and left goalkeeper Bryson White with little chance. White finished with 11 saves on the evening.

The Larks took very little time in the second half to seal the game. Bahamian international Djay Taylor played the ball forward into a contested situation at the top of the box. The ball popped loose into the air away from the defender and Sammy Rios finished his hat trick with an incredible over-the-head kick that beat the retreating Bethany goalkeeper.

The Larks will resume Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference (KJCCC) play on Tuesday as they travel to Garden City Community College to play the Conquistadors.

Lark men’s soccer poised for a strong season

The men’s soccer program and Hesston College hope to continue building the right chemistry and culture under third year Head Coach Matthew Gerlach. The 2017 year ended with a 7-13 record, the team’s best in 14 years. The Larks will enter the Kansas Jayhawk Community College Conference (KJCCC) this season. This has very little change for the soccer programs, but will be a great boost in joining one of the top National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) conferences in the country.

“I am excited for this season,” said Coach Gerlach. “The atmosphere around the team is where we want it, work ethic, desire, passion and a willingness to grow and learn. I couldn’t ask for better assistant coaches, better men to be standing beside me on the sidelines. The guys who are on the field want to be there; they want to grow as men too. We have potential for greatness both on and off the field.”

The Larks return some key players. Roe Russey will marshal the middle of the field and both Djay Taylor and Sammy Rios have the ability to put the ball in the back of the net at any moment. The back line is full of experience and is anchored by goalkeeper Bryson White. Newcomers to the squad will also play a major role as club teammates Jonathan Quiros and Ian Ellis as well as fellow Texan Austin Schroeder are poised to play major roles.

The Larks will open their schedule Friday, August 24, at Central Christian College. They will have their home opener the following Monday, August 27, against Southwestern College at 7 p.m. The will begin their KJCCC season at Cloud County (RV) on Wednesday, September 5.

42 Larks named to NJCAA All-Academic Teams

The Hesston College athletic department announces that 42 student-athletes have been named National Junior College Athletic Association Academic All-Americans. To be an All-American a student needs to complete a minimum of 24 credits over the two semester school year. The 42 student-athletes represents 24% of Hesston’s total athletes on campus. Congratulations to the following students:

Named to the first team with a GPA of 4.0 were Landon Baer (North Lima, Ohio), men’s soccer; Jenna Boller (Kalona, Iowa), women’s soccer; Jeremy Deckinger (Wichita, Kan.), baseball; Jade Gleason (Brush, Colo.), volleyball; Cal Hartley (Benton, Kan.), men’s basketball; Luke Hertzler (Harrisonburg, Va.) men’s soccer; Kylee Kasselman (Claflin, Kan.), volleyball; Kate Kilmer (Goshen, Ind.), women’s cross country; Cassidy King (Cochranville, Pa.), volleyball; Kaylen Lassley (Salina, Kan.), softball; Levi Litwiller (Hopedale, Ill.), men’s cross country; Nicole Loewen (Hutchinson, Kan.), women’s tennis; Taylor Longenecker (Harrisonburg, Va.), men’s track and field; Faith Manickam (Hesston, Kan.), women’s soccer; Elizabeth Miller (Archbold, Ohio), women’s cross country; Rio Mori (Osaka, Japan), women’s tennis; Curtis Oesch (Caldwell, Idaho), men’s tennis; Hannah Rosenbaum (Richmond, Texas), women’s tennis; Jaelyn Rufenacht (Pettisville, Ohio), softball; Jenna Schneider (Lodi, Calif.), softball; Morgan Sterner (Lehi, Utah), women’s basketball; Harune Suzuki (Osaka, Japan), women’s tennis; Bryson White (Fort Worth, Texas), men’s soccer; and Sadie Winter (Newton, Kan.), women’s cross country.
Lark athletes named to the 2018-19 NJCAA All-Academic second team
Named to the All-Academic Second Team with a GPA of 3.80 to 3.99 were Sam Amarante (Lodi, Calif.), softball; Kenzie Brown (Estes Park, Colo.), women’s soccer; Andre Eanes (Harrisonburg, Va.) men’s cross country; Faith Hallmark (El Dorado, Kan.), volleyball; Zac Neely (Ada, Okla.), men’s basketball; Caitlyn Nichols (Mesa, Colo.), women’s basketball; and Payton Yehnert (Parker, Colo.) women’s soccer.
Lark athletes named to the 2018-19 NJCAA All-Academic third team
Named to the All-Academic Third Team with a GPA of 3.60 to 3.79 were Alexis Avalos (Yucaipa, Calif.), softball; Savannah Bontrager (Milford, Neb.), women’s cross country; Sierra Broce (Goddard, Kan.), women’s cross country; Annalys Hanna (Fraser, Colo.), volleyball; Jacob Harris (El Paso, Texas), baseball; Shaelyn Headrick (La Junta, Colo.), women’s basketball; Preston Judd (Hayden, Ala.), baseball; Kaede Nakada (Tokyo, Japan), women’s tennis; Miho Okuda (Chiba-ken, Japan), women’s soccer; Haley Unruh (Wilmore, Kan.), volleyball; and Lindsey Yoder (Millersburg, Ohio), women’s soccer.

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.