JOHNSONBURG – Johnsonburg soccer celebrated its season with a banquet at Johnsonburg Area Elementary School Sunday afternoon.
The Rams finished with a 2-16 record this season, scoring 20 goals and allowing 66 goals. The goals allowed total ended up being 10 less than last season.
Kyle Sheldon led the Rams with 11 goals this season. Luke Shreffler had four and Caleb Hefright had two. Zebb Zilcosky, Tommy Imbrogno and Devon Zilcoski each had one. Sheldon has 24 career goals and head coach Lance Rezmerski said that mark would be good for a mark of fourth place.
Shreffler led the Rams with two assists while Hefirght Imborgno and Zilcoski each had one.
Mason Walters led the Rams with 82 saves at goalkeeper. Sheldon had 42 and Zilcoski had 26.
Zilcosky finished as the representative for the All-County team at the Elk County Tournament.
Johnsonburg had seven losses by one goal this season and two of those seven games were overtime losses. Johnsonburg got off to a slow start this season as the Rams gave up 17 goals in its first three games. Johnsonburg also allowed 16 goals in its last three games, those six games accounted for nearly half of Johnsonburg’s goals allowed this season. Rezmerski said the Rams were competitive in every other game this season.
He spoke about the Rams and the overall team defense.
“This is the best defense we have had in four years,” Rezmerski said. “It wasn’t just the best four defenders and goalie. It was the best team that has played defense in all positions.”
Rezmerski said the Rams improved as the season went on. Against Coudersport, the Rams only lost 2-1 in overtime after what Rezmerski described as a poor scrimmage. He noted similar results against Elk County Catholic, Kane, Ridgway and Port Allegany.
“We are one year behind Port Allegany and Coudersport and Kane,” Rezmerski said. “These teams have had their big group of players one year ahead of us since our juniors started playing. Their teams are all 90 percent seniors and will be gone next year. The 2012 season will be this team’s year to go to the playoffs.”
Rezmerski estimated he will have eight seniors next season. The coach then talked about some of his players, first starting with Matt Charters.
“Matt played very well,” Rezmerski said. “Matt does exactly what you tell him to do out there. He was always in place, always trying to get around the ball.”
Rezmerski spoke about the vocal leadership shown by freshman Jesse Tucker.
“Jesse played most of the season,” Rezmerski said. “Jesse is one of the one of the few players that I’ve had as a freshman that talks while he’s on the field. All he’s lacking is experience. Overall, Jesse did a great job.”
Mason Walters was the team’s goalkeeper throughout the latter portion of the season.
“Playing defense as a freshman is one of the toughest things there is for a kid to do,” Rezmerski said. “Very few freshmen go back on defense. To put him in the goal is even worse. It’s a lot of pressure for somebody of that age. Especially when you have seven 1-goal games. There’s a lot of pressure back there. He stepped up without even questioning it. After about the third game, I think you were starting to enjoy it a little bit.”
Rezmerski said Caleb Garvey was a player that improved greatly as the season wore on.
“I don’t give a most improved award but if I were to, it would go to Caleb,” Rezmerski said. “I put him out there on the wing which is one of the most strenuous positions. He can run that long. His skills have improved tremendously this year. This year, he came out from the very beginning and knew exactly what he was doing. He did a great job.”
One of the Rams’ best defenders in Rezmerski’s view was Cody Hartnett.
“Cody, by far, was one of my best defenders,” Rezmerski said. “I don’t think he came off the field. Once he was healthy and we were able to get him back on defense, that enabled us to move some people up. By far, he’s one of the best defenders in the district.”
Rezmerski said he was impressed with Hefright’s thirst to learn.
“He wants to know everything,” Rezmerski said. “As coaches, we do our best to listen. He’s always trying to figure out how to improve the team. He is also on the side running the entire field. His intensity and knowledge of the game shows when he plays.”
Devon Horchen was put in the defensive third for the Rams.
“Devon’s one of the top defenders on our team,” Rezmerski said.
Rezmerski said Kenny Imbrogno was another player that was one of the most improved.
“Kenny’s another one where if you’re going to look at a most improved player, he’s right up there,” Rezmerski said. “We threw him out there and we were more than pleased with what he did out there. The middle of the field fit him very well this year.”
Kyle Sheldon was the team’s leading scorer this season and was goalkeeper for a time as well.
“Kyle not only played soccer this year, he played football. That’s tough to do,” Rezmerski said. “Kyle punted the ball 60 yards and on one hop we’re down the field shooting at their goal. He cleared everything. That big leg is important. He did exactly what the team needed him to do.”
Devon Zilcoski started the year at goalkeeper before being moved to the middle of the field.
“We could just see the momentum difference swing when he could take the ball and move,” Rezmerski said.
Rezmerski spoke of Johnny Ferragine and his effort on the field.
"Johnny was co-captain this year with Tommy. Johnny was the coach’s pick,” Rezmerski said. “We picked Johnny just because of his play. I benched Johnny earlier in the season. That didn’t sit real well with Johnny. He didn’t stop running until the end of the season. He held his position but he was everywhere. We threw him in the back on defense and he never came out. He has to be the most aggressive and relentless player on this team.”
Luke Shreffler also was a 2-sport athlete as he played soccer and golf.
“Luke’s another 2-sport athlete,” Rezmerski said. “Luke is the fastest kid on the team. He scored four goals this year but he knew where he should be. He was looking for how to help the team.”
Rezmerski enjoyed watching the physicality of Trey Rose.
“Trey brings everything to the defense,” Rezmerski said. “He has size, aggressiveness. He sometimes would borderline get yellow cards. Every year, he got better.”
Tommy Imbrogno was the player’s choice as a co-captain.
“By far, the smartest player on my team and I’m not talking about school,” Rezmerski said. “You can just see that over the past four years. He could bail you out of any bad situation. You can just see there’s more to it than just going out there. Tommy plays defense all the way back. He screws up and it’s a goal. It’s one of the toughest positions there are. He was the player’s pick as captain. Everybody wanted Tommy to be the captain. He motivates with his play. Tommy was our No. 1 vote-getter for the UAVSL Elite XI. He was very close.”