Senior Evan Ridd (13) will serve as one of the Norskies’ captains this fall.

The DeForest boys soccer team is coming off one of the best seasons in program history, but they have a lot of holes to fill after graduating a talented senior class.

The Norskies were in the hunt for a Badger North Conference title all the way into the final week of the season, but finished tied with Mount Horeb for second place. The Norskies and Vikings both finished 5-1-1, while Waunakee claimed the title with a 6-0-1 mark.

For the seventh straight year, DeForest advanced to a WIAA regional championship game, but lost 6-0 to Monona Grove.

The Norskies finished last season 9-4-4 overall.

“We came up just short of last season’s goals of winning conference and winning the regional,” DeForest coach Kevin Krivacek said. “We’d like to build off two straight winning seasons after three straight losing seasons prior to my first year.”

DeForest has to replace six all-conference players it lost to graduation, including Jacob Chambers (first team, midfield), Josh Hatch (first team, midfield), Austin Westra (first team, goalie), Travis Nelson (second team, midfielder), Chris Kennedy (honorable mention, defender) and Tyler Vang (honorable mention, defender).

“We lost a great number of strong seniors so we have to reload with key contributors,” Krivacek said. “Fortunately, I believe we have many that will do the trick.”

The Norskies have set high goals for the 2019 season.

“The boys really want to win that regional championship, which has been out of reach for years,” Krivacek said. “They’ve put in the work in the off-season to get ready and now it will be the coaching staff’s job to put them in the best position to accomplish this goal.”

The Norskies will be led this season by senior captains Evan Ridd and Conlan Gotzion.

“Evan contributed mostly as an outside back last year,” Krivacek said. “He is skilled and aggressive. He is a versatile player who may get some time as a midfielder.”

Ridd and Gotzion both had a goal and an assist last season.

“Conlan will likely play in the midfield,” Krivacek said. “He tackles hard and will out work the other team’s centers this year. He is a great role model within our program.”

Krivacek is expecting big things from seniors Kennedy Wallace (defender/midfield) and Adam Horton (defender). Horton had one assist last year.

“Kennedy is returning with a ton of athleticism and physical fitness. He played a lot in the back for us last year, but I think he is a versatile player that could improve our attack this year,” Krivacek said. “Adam played some key minutes for us last year. He’s a smart and skilled player and he looks like he has taken a big jump physically, which will make him a critical member of this year’s team.”

Seniors Drew Ciesielczyk (midfield/forward), Max Bashel (midfield), Eliot Pickhardt (midfield/forward), Spencer Treinen (defender) and Brandon Hundt (forward/midfield) will also provide leadership this season. Ciesielczyk had two goals and two assists last season, while Pickhardt had two assists. Treinen had one goal last year.

The Norskies’ junior class includes Joe Sommers (goalie), Kolby Prellwitz (defender/midfield), Jay Franz (midfield/forward), Donovan Wendt (midfield/forward), Josh Roesel (defender/midfield) and Nick Anderson (midfield). Anderson had three goals last season.

Sophomores looking to make an impact this season include Blake Olson (midfield), Owen Chambers (midfield), Phillip McCloskey (goalie) and Caleb Ekezie (defender).

The battle for the Badger North crown should once again be very competitive.

“Waunakee, Sauk and Mount Horeb should be strong,” Krivacek said. “I believe finishing in the top half of the Badger North is a good goal. Our matches with Baraboo, Beaver Dam, and Reedsburg should be more competitive this year, as I believe all three programs had strong groups returning and a bit more experience than us. I’m excited to start competing.”

The Norskies will kick off conference play at home against Beaver Dam at 7 p.m. on Sept. 10.

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