Sophomore soccer players honored by league coaches
A pair of Baldwin High School sophomores were honored for their individual performance this fall by other Frontier League soccer coaches.
On Monday night, all eight coaches voted on the all-league selections for the 2009 season. BHS came away with two players — Shawn Berndt and Caleb Michaels — earning honors.
“That’s a great honor for both guys, especially as sophomores,” BHS coach Matt McCune said. “They were both one vote away from making first team.”
At the beginning of the season, both sophomores were playing as forwards. During the middle of season, McCune moved Berndt back to defense. The move worked for Berndt, as he earned his first postseason accolade.
“That move is what got him all-league,” McCune said. “Several coaches were talking about how he could just shut down anybody, mainly because he is strong and has incredible speed. He’s an amazing athlete. He played defense for half of the year, but he showed what he could do when we moved him back there.”
On the other side of the field, Michaels was hitting his stride midseason. He began leading the Bulldogs in goals scored and assists and helping their offense, which was stagnant a year ago.
“We didn’t score a lot of goals, but we did improve offensively,” McCune said. “It might not have shown with the number of goals we scored, but Caleb had eight and just as many assists. We didn’t have nearly that many last year.”
“Caleb really came on during the last half of the year,” he said. “He finally got it. We did yell at him a lot early in the year, but he listened and he took that as a challenge. He really improved and you could see that in practice every day. He isn’t really a scorer, but he’s more of a creator. He might create for himself or for teammates. He’s confident and you want that as an attacker. Once he has that accolade as all-league, it will push him even more next year.”
Berndt and Michaels were just two of the seven underclassmen who saw significant minutes on the varsity level. Many of the other varsity players were juniors, as there were only four seniors on the roster.
Although the 2010 season won’t start for another nine months, the Bulldogs’ coach is hoping the experience at the varsity level will benefit his players next fall.
“When you’re in almost every single game, you gain so much experience,” McCune said. “In the years to come, I don’t think we’ll have that lack of experience that we dealt with this year.”
The Bulldogs finished the season with two wins. Their final game — a rematch against Eudora, a team they beat once — was canceled because of weather. However, they did win their opening playoff contest at Coffeyville. McCune was proud of how his players kept fighting and played their best soccer at the end of the season.
“That’s the goal every year,” he said. “I don’t put a lot of stock into the first half of the season and I tell the team that. I want to win every single game and I know the players want to win every single game, but you’ve got to look at the big picture. It’s a long season and we play 16 games. You’re not going to have everybody healthy every single game.”