Tigers look to contend for CLC title

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff

HOWARDS GROVE – The Howards Grove Tigers have a bright outlook as they look to contend for the Central Lakeshore Conference boys soccer crown this season.

HGHS returns 20 letter winners, including two All-CLC players, from last year’s squad which finished fourth in the league at 7-5 and 13-12 overall. Junior forward Derrick Grimm is back after earning All-CLC first-team honors for the second straight season in 2013. The other all-league pick returning is senior midfielder/forward Dakota Rabe who was honorable mention last season.

“I am very optimistic about our season. I think our boys are going to be competitive this year and will work hard to achieve their goals,” said Tiger head coach Todd Fischer who’s in his seventh season at the helm.

“We have a tough conference but I believe the boys will rise to the challenges.”

Grimm led the CLC in goals last season with 16 and was the Tigers’ top scorer overall with an impressive 29. He also paced the team in assists with nine. Rabe was third on the squad in goals with eight.

Joining Grimm, the team captain, and Rabe as the Tigers’ returning starters are junior defender Lucas Jaeger and junior midfielder/forward Carson Teske.

“Derrick Grimm is a secondyear captain on our team and I expect him to use his leadership skills to assist his teammates in getting better,” said Fischer.

“I also look to our three seniors [Josh Eilers, Rabe and Gage Liswe] to provide that leadership as they enter their last year playing at the varsity level.”

Fischer noted the team’s strengths and weaknesses.

“Team cohesiveness is our strength. This is a great group of boys who really care about each other’s success,” he observed.

“Athleticism is our second strength. Almost every boy plays another sport.

“Our weakness would be first touches and staying in position. These will be areas of emphasis this year.”

Fischer said the 27-player team is deep at most of the positions.

“We have several underclassmen who will step up and help our team be successful,” he said.

“Our freshman class has a number of athletes who will assist our team. I look forward to working with them and watching them develop.”

The coach pointed out the keys for his team to have success.

“Hard work, focus and mental toughness will be our keys to being successful this season. If we play our style of possession-style soccer and decide that we want to win the games more than our opponents, I believe we will have a successful season,” he said.

Fischer gave his impressions of the conference competition.

“I think the conference will be tough as it always is. I believe the top teams will be Howards Grove, Sheboygan Christian/Lutheran and Oostburg, and we can never underestimate Kohler,” he said.

Christian/Lutheran won the CLC title last year with a 12-0 record, followed by Oostburg at 8-3-1 and Kohler, 7-4-1.

“Our No. 1 goal is to win the CLC and have fun. We always say, ‘winning is fun.’ After our conference season we would like to be regional champions and then move on to state for the first time,” said Fischer.

The Tigers advanced to the Division 4 regional finals last season where they lost to Oostburg, 5-1.

Aug. 19 – Kiel, here
Aug. 23 – at Sheboygan South Invite
Aug. 26 – @ Ozaukee
Aug. 28 – Sheb. Christ./Luth., here
Sept. 2 – @ Random Lake
Sept. 4 – @ Kohler
Sept. 9 – @ Cedar Grove
Sept. 11 – Oostburg, here
Sept. 18 – Ozaukee, here
Sept. 20 – @ Sheboygan Falls Invite
Sept. 23 – Sheb. Christ./Luth., @ SC
Sept. 25 – Random Lake, here
Sept. 29 – Kohler, here
Oct. 2 – Cedar Grove, here
Oct. 7 – @ Oostburg
Seniors – *Josh Eilers (midfielder), *Dakota Rabe (mid.-forward) and

*Gage Lisowe (defender).

Juniors – *Hunter Voss (goalkeeper def.), *Jeremy Berglund (mid-for.), *Ben Dehne (mid.-for.), *Lucas Jaeger (def.), *Derrick Grimm (for.), *Nick Peterson (def.), *Devin Gallenberger (mid.), *Mason Stauss (def.) and *Carson Teske (mid.-def.).

Sophomores – *Bryce Pedrin (mid.), *Noah Fischer (mid.), *Maverick Moore (mid.), *Travis Eilers (def.), *Keegan Rhynas (def), *Caleb Holzman (goal.mid.), *Peyton Roth (mid.), *Jacob Rautmann (mid.-for.) and Gaven Verhelst (mid.-for.).

Freshmen – Peter Grimm (mid.- for.), Jordan Peterson (mid.), Lane Reinke (mid.), Jacob Doebert (mid.-for.), Austin Bender (mid.-def.) and Bennett Ebertz (def.).

* - Returning letter winner.

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