The Baraboo High School boys soccer program’s breakthrough season ended with six players on the All-Badger North Conference team.
Oscar Fernandez-Hydzik was the only Thunderbird who had been there before. The senior midfielder tallied 13 goals and 12 assists on the way to being named first-team All-Badger North for the first time. Fernandez-Hydzik scored at least two goals in five matches, including a hat trick against Lodi. Baraboo’s players and coaches voted him the team’s Most Valuable Player for his work in the middle of the T-Birds’ offense.
The four-year starter, who was Baraboo’s leading scorer in 2016 and 2018, added his latest accolade to two honorable mention nods and one second-team selection.
“In my opinion, he has the best technical ability in the Badger North,” Baraboo head coach Tyler Lang said. “Superb ball control, excellent vision and ability to connect passes to other midfielders and forwards. Defensively, his tackling and ability to read his opponents’ movements is top notch. He will be very difficult to replace next year, but I’m looking forward to seeing him play at the next level.”
Will Gunnell also earned a spot on the first team. It was the first all-conference honor for the senior goalkeeper, who played every minute the past two seasons.
Gunnell made 77 saves in 19 games this year to tally a 1.28 goals against average. He had a .770 save percentage and seven shutouts this season, including a stretch of six straight from the middle of September to early October. Gunnell also created the Sport of the Game award, which went to a player from each team who displayed a notable level of sportsmanship in Baraboo’s home games.
“True leader on and off the field,” Lang said of Gunnell, noting he was also the only Badger North goalie to save a penalty kick. “Used his athleticism to make game-saving plays and became great at controlling the ball at his feet. His teammates trusted him to take care of the ball if they played it back to him. ... Fantastic goalkeeper, excellent student and phenomenal person. Will has set the bar very high for our next goalkeeper.”
Baraboo’s second-team honorees — Hunter Bielicki and Ronaldo Lopez — were newcomers to the program. The duo helped jump start a Baraboo attack that scored 3.95 goals per game and outscored opponents 75-10 in wins and ties this season a year after scoring just 1.7 goals per game. As a result, Baraboo, which was outscored 14-0 in its losses, improved upon an 8-10-1 record in 2018 to go 13-5-1 this year.
Bielicki, a transfer from Ohio, finished with a team-high 17 goals to go along with nine assists. The junior forward, who had a four-goal game against Reedsburg, was voted as Baraboo’s Offensive Player of the Year.
“His physicality is vital to our attack, and he uses his intelligent runs to get behind defenders,” Lang said. “Hunter is very skilled and has a calm presence when it comes to finishing. Overall, he is an excellent player and we’re glad to have him in our program. I’m excited to see him flourish in his senior year.”
Lopez was all over the field from his midfield position. The freshman was always a threat, finishing with 14 goals and three assists to share the team’s Rookie of the Year honors with his twin brother Johan Lopez. Ronaldo Lopez had a regular-season hat trick against Stoughton and another hat trick in a WIAA Division 2 regional win over Portage/Poynette.
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“Excellent ball control, aggressive and has a great eye for goal,” Lang said of Ronaldo Lopez. “I’m very much looking forward to seeing him excel the rest of his high school career.”
Johan Lopez received an honorable mention nod in his freshman season. The forward finished with 12 goals, including a hat trick against Wrightstown, and four assists.
“Great speed up top, creativity and powerful strike helped him to amass 12 goals,” Lang said of Johan. “He has a bright future ahead of him.”
Max Koenig rounded out Baraboo’s award winners, receiving honorable mention. The senior defender joined Gunnell and Fernandez-Hydzik as captains and was named Baraboo’s Defensive Player of the Year.
“Phenomenal leader,” Lang said of Koenig. “Very difficult to get past due to his agility and strength. He did a great job of dribbling into space and connecting passes from the back. Max is an awesome young adult, and he’ll be difficult to replace next year.”
Koenig, Fernandez-Hydzik and Gunnell led a group of 10 seniors that also included Chase Olson, Will Jurvelin, Aaron Swenson, Jack Hyland, Dillan Guerra, Keaton Thomte and Ryan Lawrence — many of whom started for two years after the T-Birds graduated 17 seniors in 2017. Baraboo’s 2019 season ended with a fourth-place finish in the Badger North and a 1-0 loss to Sauk Prairie in the regional finals.
Oscar Fernandez-Hydzik, sr., Baraboo; Nick Jansen, sr., Beaver Dam; Evan Ridd, sr., DeForest; George Schultz, sr., Mount Horeb; Gabriel Guenther*, sr., Mount Horeb; Tyler Banfield, jr., Mount Horeb; Evan Carlson*, sr., Sauk Prairie; Joe Baumgardt, jr., Sauk Prairie; Jacob Mouille*, sr., Waunakee; Cole Kettner*, so., Waunakee; Will Gunnell, sr., GK, Baraboo.
Hunter Bielicki, jr., Baraboo; Ronaldo Lopez, fr., Baraboo; Nate Jansen, sr., Beaver Dam; Connor Long, sr., Mount Horeb; Hunter Collins, jr., Portage/Poynette; Will Fuhrmann, sr., Reedsburg; Simon Enerson, sr., Sauk Prairie; Blake Gibbs, sr., Sauk Prairie; Sam Acker, sr., Waunakee; Mason Miller, sr., Waunakee; Riley Jelinek, sr., GK, Sauk Prairie.
Baraboo — Max Koenig, sr.; Johan Lopez, fr. Beaver Dam — Dacoda Banes, sr. DeForest — Kennedy Wallace, sr.; Phillip McCloskey, so., GK. Mount Horeb — Jacob Dorning, sr.; Gabe Piscitelli, sr. Sauk Prairie — Trevor Spray, sr.; Caden Pugh, sr. Waunakee — Trent Jarvi, sr.; Nathan Dresen, jr.
Follow Brock Fritz on Twitter @BrockFritz