Tigers’ Near named BEC Player of the Year

by Greg Ceilley
of The Review staff

CAMRIE SCHMITZ CAMRIE SCHMITZ Junior forward Kaitlynn Near of Howards Grove was voted the Big East Conference’s Player of the Year in girls soccer for the inaugural 2016 season by the BEC coaches.

Near is a unanimous All-BEC first-team pick. Two of her Tiger teammates were also named to the first team in junior midfielder Brittany Schaller and junior goalkeeper Olivia Stauss. Schaller earned firstteam honors in the now defunct Central Lakeshore Conference each of the previous two years.

The Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah Resorters are represented on the top unit by junior forward Camrie Schmitz who is a unanimous selection. Schmitz was an All-CLC firstteam player last year.

The Tigers, who won the first BEC championship with a 17-0-1 record, have three players on the All-BEC second team – junior midfielder Katie Guse and junior defenders Emily Schmid and Ashley Reinemann.

HG has one honorable-mention choice in junior defender Melissa Oxtoby.

OLIVIA STAUSS OLIVIA STAUSS Also receiving all-league recognition for the Resorters is senior midfielder Monica Ruh on the second team.

“Near’s goal total was impressive and her willingness to take a new position on the team helped us find more offensive production from everyone,” said Tiger head coach Kasey Smith.

“She has an amazing ability to stay on the ball under pressure and break away from defenders to create space for shots. Near plays at a high intensity level for entire games and is in exceptional physical condition.”

In conference play, Near led the Tigers in goals with 22, assists with 13 and points, 57 (two points per goal and one per assist).

“Brittany is a very important piece of the puzzle for HGHS soccer. She can play anywhere on the field and still be a threat to score,” Smith observed.

KAITLYNN NEAR KAITLYNN NEAR “Brittany defends well and will win almost all 50/50 balls with hustle and determination. She is a great passer and great example for her teammates on and off the field.”

Schaller contributed seven goals and assists each in BEC action.

“Olivia’s keeper skills will be hard to match her senior year. She is a student of this position and is only getting better,” the coach pointed out.

“She has great hands, great athleticism and has worked on learning how to distribute the ball. She is a great leader for the team and she will make all the saves she is supposed to and many that not too many other keepers will make.”

Stauss surrendered only five goals in 18 BEC matches (0.37 goals-against average per game) and made 81 saves. Her save percentage was an impressive .942.

Schmitz ranked second in the BEC in goals for the overall season with 41 (30 in league play). She made two assists in BEC action. Junior forward Abby Wisneski of St. Mary Catholic (Neenah), a unanimous All-BEC first-team forward, was the top goal scorer in the league for the overall league season with 43.

BRITTANY SCHALLER BRITTANY SCHALLER “Camrie has the ability to change the flow of the game. Her dynamic speed and ability to change direction is unmatched in our conference,” said Resorter head coach Camrie Schmitz.

“She developed a greater feel for the game this year – getting others involved. Even when things were not going our way she kept the same attitude and did not let others around her slow down.

“To best define Camrie is to say if you put her on any of the other teams she will be one of the best players on that team. She played through some very painful injuries this year, missing three games. Even with that she finished second in goals [for the overall season] for the conference,” said coach Ruh.

Guse tallied eight goals and had seven assists in BEC matches.

“Guse is a threat from deep and has amazing breakaway speed on the outside of the field. She plays great defense and began to take a role as an inside mid. Guse finishes well in front of the goal,” Smith noted.

Schmid had five goals and assists apiece in league action.

“Emily is an all-around great player. She has great finishing ability, remarkable speed and she can play shut-down defense,” said Smith.

“Ashley is our sweeper/center defender and has the speed and game knowledge to trouble the best forwards and midfielders in our conference.

“Melissa quickly showed her prowess at the position and quite frankly was a major factor in our success and will be next year. Her defensive skills, aggressiveness and ability to find outside defenders with clears was amazing this season,” said Smith.

Ruh totaled six goals in BEC action and led Elkhart in assists for the overall season with 21.

“Monica played out of position this year – playing the holding midfield position. She had eight goals and 21 assists this year. She has the best feel for the game and can see things developing before they happen, and sets the tone on the field,” coach Ruh pointed out.

“As holding mid she played against bigger and stronger players. Over the entire season she did not lose a one-on-one for a goal. She is very vocal on the field directing and working with other players to keep them in their positions and helped to push them to be better players.

“Monica started every game in her high school career and played 98 percent of the minutes in those games. She can play and did play every position on the field, and when in goal she did not allow a goal, added the Resorter coach.

The other unanimous first-team players are senior defender Keri Hartman of Oostburg and senior midfielder/forward Emily Janke of Ozaukee.

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