The Ohio Scholastic Soccer Coaches’ Association revealed its 2017 All-Ohio teams on Sunday and several area players and coaches were among those receiving honors.
Independence’s Ryan MacRaild was named Division III Coach of the Year for leading the Blue Devils to a perfect 16-0 regular season and a second straight district championship.
The Blue Devils finished 19-1 overall behind junior midfielder Sam Belitz, who was named first team All-Ohio in Division III.
“Sam is and will be considered one of the top players in Ohio next year,” MacRaild said. “Having played our last three games with a pretty serious ankle injury and still producing, we know his character and heart matched with his ability make him a complete player. It is an honor to coach players like him and his teammates and I have always considered a coach of the year a team award because without them playing the games and getting results, it wouldn’t matter to anyone. With my first senior class graduating with a 68-7-5 record over four years, I couldn’t be more proud to earn the honor on their behalf.”
Belitz, who scored 35 goals with nine assists this year, was a second team honoree last season.
“I don’t play this game for the recognition, but it’s extremely humbling and an honor when people see fit to award me,” Belitz said. “All glory to God for gifting me any talent that I have and keeping me safe, and credit to my outstanding teammates and coaches; they all made this season one I won’t forget.”
Kirtland senior defender Kyle Work was named second team All-Ohio in Division III.
Work scored three goals with three assists and helped the Hornets limit their opponents to just 28 goals in 18 games.
“It’s a really big honor to be named All-Ohio,” Work said. “I’ve been incredibly lucky to be part of some of the best teams in Kirtland history and play with some incredible players like all-Ohioans Jared and Jordan Ianiro. I am also incredibly lucky to be able to play under a great coach (John Valentic) who knows so much about the game and has given me all the opportunities to become successful. The players and coaches around me have always pushed me to become better and I am very grateful for all the people who have put me in positions to improve.”
Beachwood junior midfielder Spencer Shroge also was named to the second team in Division III while University School senior George Nageeb (14 goals, 14 assists) was a first-team selection in Division I and Chagrin Falls junior Aaron Passalacqua (12, 7) and Hawken senior Charlie Ross both were named to the second team in Division II.
Kirtland senior midfielder Hannah Vouk earned All-Ohio honors for the second straight season.
Vouk was named second team last fall and earned first team honors this season after scoring five goals with 12 assists and leading the Hornets to the Division III state championship game for the first time in school history.
“At the beginning of the year, I decided to set one goal for myself, to be first team All-Ohio,” Vouk said. “I set this goal for myself because I thought it was seemingly impossible. I knew I would have to work harder and be better than I was last year, and most importantly, I had to show it through leading the team.”
With that goal in mind, Vouk spent all summer pushing herself and her teammates to raise the bar.
The Hornets started the season with an 0-3-1 record but it was leadership from Vouk and the other seniors that helped the team remain focused during their run to a second regional championship in three seasons.
“When (Coach Ed) Bradac told me I got it, my jaw kind of hit the floor,” Vouk said. “To know that I had pushed myself harder than I ever did before meant everything. I proved to myself and to others that hard work pays off, no matter how much time it takes. I am filled with so much excitement, especially because I know my team has supported me through it all. Not only that, but they have pushed me to be better, to improve on anything possible. The same thing goes with all of our coaches and my dad. This award means that I can make them proud and that I can, hopefully, set an example for other players. This means that playing with heart shows who you really are as an athlete and a person. I am so pleased that people saw that in me.”
Lake Catholic junior forward Kati Druzina and Gilmour Academy senior forward Izzy Greene both were named first team in Division II while Mayfield senior midfielder Tyler Klika and Geneva senior forward Maria Sill earned second team honors in Division I. Berkshire senior defender Asya Martin was named second team in Division III.