No Beaver Dam boys soccer players were selected for the first team of the all-Badger North Conference postseason awards list for 2018, but the Golden Beavers did get the next best thing.
Defender Nick Jansen and forward Austin Graff were the top two vote-getters on the second team, rounding out the Golden Beavers’ presence on the awards list following a year in which they took fifth in conference with a 4-3 record.
Jansen, a junior, was touted to the rest of the league by Beaver Dam coach Dave Elgersma as someone deserving of recognition due to his ability to consistently stymie the other team’s best scorer.
Because the Badger North doesn’t pick its all-conference players by position — the top 10 players are named to the first team and the next 10 are second team — defenders were tough first-team sells because of their lack of supporting statistics.
But since there were some “pretty prolific scorers” in the conference, Elgersma said, selling Jansen as one of the top 20 in the league was easy due to how stingy he was as a back.
“Nick was able to shut down most team’s elite scorers with the way he conducted himself and the way he controlled our back line,” Elgersma said.
Elgersma also added that coaches took note of the fact Jansen was the one called upon to execute free kicks.
“He was the guy that had the ability to get the ball where we needed to get the ball,” Elgersma said.
Meantime, Graff, who is a senior, had two goals and an assist in league play and five goals and two assists overall.
And of his two goals in Badger North action, one of them was one of just three scored against Waunakee.
Elgersma said that goal was all Graff, as he dribbled the ball from midfield to the corner and then created an opportunity by himself in order to find the net.
“His ability to make plays like that really was what got him recognized,” Elgersma added.
Nathan Jansen ended up as Beaver Dam’s leading scorer this year, with the same number of points (two goals and one assist) in league play as Graff but three more points (six goals, three assists) overall.
Still, it was Graff who the other teams typically geared up to stop.
“He was double-teamed by every team we played,” Elgersma said. “There was no question about who they needed to man-mark and keep an eye on. He did a lot of really good things. They couldn’t leave him one on one.”
Elgersma said that both were well deserving of the recognition, not just because of how they performed on the field but for their leadership — both received team captain arm bands about a third of the way through the year — and their character.
“It was fun with those guys,” he added.
Baraboo — Brady Mackinnon, Sr. DeForest — Austin Westra, Sr, Goalkeeper. Jacob Chambers, Sr. Jash Hatch, Sr. Mount Horeb — Caleb Guenther*, Sr. Tommy Winker, Sr. Sauk Prairie — Evan Carlson*, Jr. Max Wilkineson, Sr. Waunakee — Brennen Miller*, Sr. Hudson Miller, Sr. Nathan Mais, Sr.
Second team </&hspag3>
Baraboo — Joe Stout, Sr. Beaver Dam — Nick Jansen, Jr. Austin Graff, Sr. DeForest — Travis Nelson, Sr. Mount Horeb — Tyler Banfield, Soph. Gabriel Guenther, Jr. Sauk Prairie — Blake Gibbs, Jr. Austin Werderits, Jr. Waunakee — Cole Kettner, Fr. Sam Ackner, Jr. Sullivan Schwitters, Sr, Goalkeeper.
Baraboo — Oscar Fernandez-Hydzik, Jr. DeForest — Chris Kennedy, Sr. Tyler Vang, Sr. Mount Horeb — George Schultz, Jr. Ben Leis, Sr, Goalkeeper. Portage/Poynette — Hunter Collins, Soph. Reedsburg — Will Fuhrmann, Jr. Sauk Prairie — Sam Drescher, Fr. Waunakee — Blake Mueller, Sr. Carson Ejzak, Sr.
<&SPAGEm>*Denotes unanimous selection</&SPAGEm>