December 20, 2013

Jennings, Martin headline All-Loganland soccer squad

by Beau Wicker

— Potentially two Division-I athletes lead this year’s All-Loganland soccer team.

Logansport’s Jesus Martin is the boys player of the year and Whitney Jennings is the girls player of the year.

Martin, nicknamed Chuy, was a standout goalkeeper for the Berries this season.

“For the season he had 95 saves, 6.3 per game,” Logan coach Mike Turner said. “He allowed 1.8 goals per game. We had our issues at times defensively this season. We had seven games where we only allowed one goal. We had no shutouts, but the sectional game against Western was 0-0 that went into PKs. He had a shutout against Marion until he got hurt.”

Marion stunned Logansport in the sectional final, scoring three goals in the final 11 minutes including a miracle shot as time expired for a 3-2 win. Martin left the game in the first half after getting kicked in the head and still has the scar to show for it. The Giants went on to be semistate finalists.

Martin recently went to a camp at Western Michigan University.

“It was a full-day camp for prospect players,” Turner said. “You had to have a 3.6 GPA to be invited. He plays for FC Indiana, a high school team out of Lafayette that is an elite academy team. He is the goalkeeper for that team.

“He said he enjoyed it. He said he met with all the coaches and prospect players. He won’t know anything for awhile but does plan to play somewhere next year.”

The Berries finished with a 3-10-1 record after forfeiting four early wins due to the use of an ineligible player.

Jennings is better known for her basketball prowess but was also quite the soccer player for the Berries. The Iowa basketball signee scored a career-high 28 goals this season and was named honorable mention all-state.

“That’s a very big honor,” Logan coach Todd Reiff said. “She probably would have finished higher. She was invited to a showcase but basketball had already started so I knew she couldn’t play. She would have finished higher in the voting. I was surprised she got the votes for honorable mention. The West Lafayette coach really went to bat for us. He was part of the selection committee and knew how good she was.”

The Lady Berries went 7-8 this season. They were defeated by Marion 4-0 in a sectional semifinal.

In basketball Jennings is averaging 34.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, 7.3 assists and 6.1 steals per game for the Class 4A No. 6 Berries that are 7-0 to start the season.

The following are capsules of the rest of the 2013 All-Loganland soccer team.

Girls soccer

Bailey Graham, Logansport

The senior had five assists and one goal this season for the Berries while playing mostly on defense.

“Bailey had a great year for us. She was a central defender and stopper,” Reiff said. “She also kicked our corner kicks and we had five of those end up in goals. That’s a great weapon to have. The vast majority of her corner kicks were placed in dangerous areas and gave us a great opportunity to do something with them. She scored on a direct kick at Richmond which was a very big win for us at their place on the turf. She was one of the key defensive players for us and was versatile and did a bunch of things for us.”

Sarah Holt, Caston

Holt, a junior, was an aggressive player who did not back down while playing for the boys team at Caston. She was the first girl to score a goal for the Comets squad.

“She had not played soccer in many years prior to last season. Hands down, she improved the most from start to finish,” Caston coach Narciso Sanchez said. “Sarah is a very athletic, competitive and determined individual. She on many occasions pushed herself to her absolute limit and then some. She practiced and played with an intensity that often set the tone for her team. Her skill set increased tenfold over the course of the season. She has a high ceiling and it’ll be interesting to see how much better she will get this offseason in preparation for next year.”

Haley Riemenschneider, Logansport

The senior defender helped the Berries post three shutouts on the season.

“Haley’s a great kid who worked really hard,” Reiff said. “She’s undersized but she plays with a lot of heart and gave us everything she had. She was a great defensive player for us. She would have liked to have played at other positions but we had to have her at defense and she did a great job at that.

“All three of those girls will be incredibly hard to replace. You don’t get many like that.”

Boys soccer

Victor Artero-Rios, Caston

Artero-Rios, a midfielder, was a senior leader for the Comets.

“Quite simply the engine that ran team,” Sanchez said. “He was catalyst to most all of our offensive attacks. He controlled the midfield with great confidence. Best ball handler on the team, as well as the best distributor of the ball. He was gritty and played end to end every game. He will be truly missed. Great player and an even greater individual.”

Austen Brown, Winamac

The senior had 204 saves and posted two shutouts for the Warriors this season.

“He was a first-year soccer player and for his first year to play goalie, obviously he was a tireless worker and made himself into the goalie he was,” Winamac coach Mark Eber said. “He was always out there and putting in extra time with the coaches before the season started. He’s a natural leader.”

Orlando Casimiro, Logansport

The senior was named Offensive Player of the Year for Logansport and scored a team-high 13 goals.

“He played with a lot of heart,” Turner said. “He had the most opportunities on our team. He was offsides a lot because he was so aggressive trying to get behind the defense. I like his effort, I wish he would have had a higher shooting percentage. He was right around 18 percent and I would have liked to have seen about 30. But all in all he was our top scorer. He isn’t the fastest but he was the most physical of our forwards.

“He played with a lot of heart and intensity and the opportunities he got helped open up our offense.”

Gage Garpow, Winamac

The junior had three goals and a team-high four assists for the Warriors this season.

“He came in a couple games late because of having back issues,” Eber said. “Right off the bat he was in our lineup and playing 80 percent of the minutes or more. He has good talent and probably needs to be more assertive at times. He’s a good passer and continues to develop as an offensive player. He was definitely a rock in the midfield.”

Alex Howdeshell, Caston

Howdeshell, a junior, was a striker for the Comets this season.

“He was our best back to goal player on our team and had the greatest control out of the air,” Sanchez said. “Alex improved tremendously in every aspect of his game. He has an uncanny ability to win balls on sheer determination. He’s strong with the ball and plays very direct with great field vision.”

Zach Markley, Winamac

Markley, a senior, was an all-state kicker in football and also a standout soccer player this fall.

“He’s an amazing athlete,” Eber said. “He hasn’t even touched his potential. He’s got more in him than he even knows. He’s fast and strong and kicks like a mule. He was definitely a big part of the defense we did have.

“He had a goal and three assists but mostly played in the back of our midfield defense.”

At the end of the season Eber announced he was resigning from coaching.

“I’ve been toying around the idea for awhile. I picked this class as the last one,” he said. “It’s never easy to leave. I could stick around and hang out with these kids forever. It’s probably time for the program to have new blood.”

Eber said the highlight of his run was winning the Logansport Sectional title in 2001.

The Warriors went 1-14-1 this season. They forfeited a win and two ties early in the season due to the use of an ineligible player.

Braden Moss, Caston

The junior was a striker for Caston this fall.

“He’s great with the ball at his feet and has a great sense of balance and is very tough to knock off the ball,” Sanchez said. “He’s fearless and is not afraid to face up and take on anyone. He has an insatiable work ethic both on the game pitch and practice field.

“Both of these strikers [Howdeshell and Moss] are formidable on their own. Together they give a lot of defenses a very difficult time. In their senior year they will be even better.”

Phil Stephenson, Logansport

The senior offensive midfielder had two goals in the Anderson win and added four assists on the season.

“He had really good leadership with the team when things were rough,” Turner said. “When we went through those forfeits he was a really good model for the other players to help keep them focused. He played through some injuries and had problems with shin splints over the last three games of the season but refused to not be in the starting lineup or not come off the field, especially in the sectional. He set the tone for the rest of the players for how much it meant to him to win those games.

“He understands the game really well. He played with a lot of heart. He represented himself and Logansport well.”

Heath Vincent, Logansport

The senior defensive midfielder was named the Defensive Player of the Year for Logansport.

“He was a solid defender. He helped support the offense by linking play and kept everything organized,” Turner said. “His season goal was to win yellow cards. He got one yellow card this season and he plays with a lot of emotion. He wears his emotion on his sleeves and this year he kept himself composed.

“He was a good senior captain and a good leader.”