The Maple Grove boys’ soccer team was honored at a recent banquet for its outstanding 2013 season.
The Crimson finished with a 13-4-1 record. Notably, almost every field player scored or made an assist during the season. Captain Kevin Hoof led the scoring among the 13 Crimson with goals, finding the back of the net eight times. Sophomore Garrett Maupin, who possesses a devastating corner kick, took the top spot among the 15 players with assists, creating the scoring opportunity five times.
Goalkeeper Ben Nelson, a junior, posted eight shut outs and allowed in an average per game goals against of just 0.7. Nelson was chosen by his teammates to join returning captains Hoof and Trevor Gifft to lead the Crimson men in 2014.
“Going in to this we had low expectations for the season since we had pretty young players,” said Gifft. “We impressed everyone when we came out with our 13 and 4 record, and had a nice win streak against big teams. It was a great success this year.”
All Conference Awards were given to Hoof, Nelson and juniors Reid Diamond and Ryan Peterson. All Conference Honorable Mention went to Gifft, Maupin and seniors Johnathon Piotrascke and Michal Barrett.
Hoof, a junior, also was named to the All State Honorable Mention Team and the All Metro Second Team. He was selected the team’s Most Valuable Player.
The Rookie of the Year award went to Diamond and freshman Ryan DeBois. Best defender was Ryan Peterson, while Barrett was Most Determined and Vladimir Maltzev was Most Improved. Ben Zaver posted the fastest time during the team’s 3-mile run, at 18.47.
Maple Grove coaches Gregg Leininger and Chad Morse were named Northwest Suburban Conference and Section 5AA Coaches of the year for leading a team with just five returning seniors to second-place in the section.
“We often talk about Maple Grove Football Club as a family,” Leininger said. “We’re different from other programs because of that and the culture and traditions we honor here. Once you put on a jersey and battle with us for a season, it’s something we as coaches and players honor. It seems to stay with guys. It’s not the success that’s the most important and the only thing that defines us. It’s the hard work. Maple Grove soccer is known for its hard work. The players that come back, they understand that you can’t win every game. We’re not going to win every single night, but they expect to see a fight. We met that expectation this year, and for that I was proud of our boys. I was proud they sent the message loud and clear to our younger players, what it takes to play for MGFC.”
With many top players returning, the future looks bright for the program and Gifft has high expectations for next year.
“Since we will have a lot of the same kids back, I’m looking forward to how we will do next year,” he said. “It’s going to go up from here. I expect big things.”