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home : sports : sports Saturday, April 30, 2016

7/3/2013 Email this articlePrint this article 
Dozen athletes named to All-WaMaC East soccer teams

By Ross Eberhart
Sports editor

Another strong season on the pitch for the Central boys and girls soccer teams was recognized by the recent release of the All-WaMaC East soccer teams.

For the first time since 2010, both Saber squads had winning campaigns in WaMaC East action and were rewarded accordingly by having six athletes apiece earn all-conference honors.

Leading the way for Central were four players - senior David Holm and junior Pablo Curiel-Garcia for the boys, and junior Marci Nielsen and sophomore Erin Lane for the girls - who landed on the respective All-WaMaC East first teams.

Senior Samantha Callender and freshman Allison Keitel were second-team picks on the girls side with sophomore Kayla Wagner and senior Maggie Grell garnering honorable mention accolades.

The Saber boys will return both of their second-team selections - sophomore John Stammeyer and freshman Keegan Lass - but will have to say goodbye to seniors Christian Hansen and Alby Saliu, who were both honorable mention picks.

Holm, Curiel-Garcia lead half-dozen boys selections

The leaders of the front and back of the Sabers' formation, respectively, Curiel-Garcia and Holm put together strong seasons, while leading Central to a 5-2 mark in WaMaC East play.

No Saber scored as many goals as Curiel-Garcia, who averaged nearly one a game this season.

The foreign exchange student from Spain finished the year with 17 goals - a number that ranked sixth among all WaMaC East players.

Curiel-Garcia was extremely efficient, scoring his goals on just 37 shots, including 31 on goal. The junior assisted on five other goals as well and led the team with 39 points.

"Pablo was a natural goal scorer," Central head coach Eduardo Garza said. "He could have easily had 30-plus goals in the season. A lot of the players around the state who did have 30-or-more goals, scored more than three goals in one game against lesser competition.

"Pablo was never allowed to score more than three goals if we were dominating the game. I personally don't see the point because it truly doesn't reflect on a player's ability."

Still, Curiel-Garcia recorded a hat trick during the Sabers' win over Western Dubuque and had two goals in four other games this season.

After spending a bulk of his junior season as a midfielder and forward, Holm moved back and helped anchor a Central defense that finished the season with eight shutouts (including four in WaMaC East play).

The senior still had an impact for the Central offense, though, especially on set pieces as Holm used his height to deflect a number of corner and direct kicks toward the goal.

Holm finished the year with five goals and assisted on one other. The Saber had 16 shots with nine of them being on goal and he was one of two players to convert his penalty kick during a shootout with top-ranked Dyersville Beckman.

"David had an outstanding year and truly deserved to be recognized for his achievements," Garza said of Holm, who was one of four Sabers to start all 18 games. "He was our captain and team leader and played a big role in our team's success."

The Sabers will get a big boost from the return of Stammeyer and Lass, who played a big part in Central's offensive success.

Stammeyer was constantly on the attack in his sophomore season and led the team with 48 shots, 36 of which were on goal.

The midfielder turned five of those shots into goals and, as the Saber most likely to handle corner and direct kicks, was tops on the team with 10 assists.

"John has everything I want in an athlete," Garza said. "By that I mean, his ability in technique and tactics. He was one of my hardest workers who left everything on the field."

Lass scored two goals in the Sabers' season opener and never looked back during a strong freshman season.

The midfielder finished second on the team with 10 goals and Lass assisted on another goal for good measure. The freshman tied for third on the team with 35 shots and was alone in third when 25 of those shots were on goal.

"Keegan played at such a high level that I would forget he was a freshman," Garza said. "Everything came natural to him and he always made an impact on the game."

Joining Lass with 35 shots during the season was Hansen, who was third on the team with nine goals.

The senior assisted on three other goals (again good for third on the team) and Hansen had 24 shots on goal during the season.

"Christian played a big role in our offense," Garza said. "Although he didn't lead in goals or assists, he created many (chances) for us where if it wasn't for his speed, we would not have had the opportunity."

The only Saber returnee from last year's honor squad was Saliu, who proved again to be one of the best goalkeepers in eastern Iowa.

The senior finished the year with 87 saves and gave up just 16 goals during his final season in net.

"Alby was easily the best goalkeeper in the conference and he should have been a first-team all-conference pick," Garza said. "He was an amazing shot stopper and, for his size, he made his presence known.

"As a captain, he was also a great leader and wanted to work hard to have a successful season."

Saber girls return four of six all-conference selections

The future continues to look bright for the Central girls, who will bring back a large portion of its team from this past spring, including both of its first-team selections.

In fact, the Sabers will get two more years from Lane, who was a key piece in the Central defense during her sophomore season.

Playing in all 18 games, Lane helped the Sabers record five shutouts this season with over half of them (three) coming against WaMaC East foes.

The sophomore also handled the majority of the Sabers' free and corner kicks and provided a scoring boost with two goals. Lane had nine shots on the season with eight of them coming on goal.

"Erin was solid for us in the back all year long and even got a few goals for us on set pieces," Central head coach Ashley Dexter said. "Not only is she a great athlete, but she has taken a big step into the leadership of our team - she was named captain by her teammates as a sophomore."

Few players, meanwhile, did a better job of switching possession than Nielsen, who like Lane was an All-WaMaC East selection last year as well.

A strong on-ball defender, Nielsen also was adept at setting up Central's attack and finding teammates upfield.

The junior attempted 18 shots during the season and put 14 of them on goal.

"Marci was also one of our captains. She held her ground firmly in the center of our midfield all year long," Dexter said. "Although she is more of a quiet player, she leads by example - she shows the other girls how a player should work and the determination it take to be an outstanding soccer player."

This was the third-straight year in which Callender, who was the team's third captain, has earned a spot on the all-conference team for her play.

The senior was again a defensive force, equally proficient in stopping an opponent's attack and starting a Saber offensive assault with one of her strong clears.

Callender proved to be dangerous closer to a foe's net as well as she turned one of her five shots on the season into a goal against West Delaware.

"It was great to see all three captains, including Samantha, get recognized," Dexter said. "It shows that our captains lead by example which is what I love in leaders."

No Saber made a bigger debut this season than Keitel, who stepped right into the Central lineup during her freshman season and provided a boost.

The midfielder was great at sending crossing passes to her waiting teammates in the middle of the field as she finished tops on the team with seven assists.

Keitel proved to be an able goal-scorer in her own right, blasting two shots home to give her a team-best 11 points this season. The freshman also led the team in shots with 38 and put 20 of them on goal.

"This was a great award for Allison to receive as a freshman," Dexter said. "I'm glad the conference saw her as such a threat because she truly is."

While Keitel pestered opponents on one sideline, Grell did the same on the other.

The senior was second on the team with two assists and joined Keitel with two goals on the season (the senior had the winning kick in the Sabers' shootout victory over Western Dubuque).

Grell finished the season with 18 shots and put seven of them on goal, while also being a good defender on the outside.

"Having two outstanding outside midfielders in Maggie and Allison made us lethal," Dexter said. "One of those two had a part in a lot of our goals this year."

One of Grell's assists was to Wagner, who finished second among all Central players with four goals.

The sophomore was a consistent threat all season and very accurate on her shots. Wagner tied for second on the team with 30 shots and led the entire squad with 21 shots on goal.

"It was another good year from Kayla," Dexter said. "She's a natural goal scorer, who definitely has potential to play at the next level."

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