The White Hawks boys soccer team celebrated the end of the 2023 season recently, having a successful season with plenty of close matches against some of the best teams in the state.
Section soccer always brings unpredictable weather. This season, it brought a rematch with the Mankato West Scarlets. The first match played between these teams was a back-and-forth affair, with Westonka taking the lead at the end of the game, so the boys knew this was going to be a tight game.
The fourth-seeded White Hawks hosted the fifth-seeded Scarlets on a cool evening, with both teams taking their shots but not able to change the scoreboard until Mound Westonka sophomore Leif Hagen scored from deep to take the lead into halftime. The Scarlets would press the rest of the game, but the home team prevailed with a close 1-0 victory to advance to the section semifinal game.
The semifinal game was on a cold and rainy night in Worthington against the top seeded Trojans. With winds gusting up to 40 mph, the conditions were not great for either side. Playing with the wind in the first half, the White Hawks pressed and took chances but couldn’t get anything to fall. A few close chances fell just short.
In the second half, playing against the wind, the White Hawks were forced to stay solid defensively and put the senior center back duo of John Morris and Jack Markstrom to the test. Senior keeper DJ Zattler managed to clear out any dangers from the hard fouling Trojans.
The game went to extra time, where a golden goal would have ended it. The White Hawks had their best chance with the wind off a free kick taken by senior Sam Holmberg, but it sailed barely over the crossbar. Extra time ended with a tie, leading to a shootout, where the Trojans outscored the White Hawks to advance, ending their season.
Despite the frustrating end of the season, the boys played well and had many individual and team accolades. A significant portion of the team was recognized for Academic All-Conference honors, which earned the team a Silver Academic Award for the first time.
Four players were recognized as Honorable Mention All-Conference, including Hagen, Markstrom, Zattler and senior Jack Moch. Senior Brett Bartkowicz was All Conference, having been honorable mention in previous years. Holmberg was named All Conference for a third year in a row, named to the first team All State for 2A and selected to play in the All State game.
Tag(s): Soccer (Boys)