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Spartans return key soccer starters for 2021 season

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The McFarland Spartans are poised to make another run for a state championship as the season kicks off on Tuesday, Aug. 24. 

After winning the Division 2 State Soccer Championship in the alternate-fall season played in spring 2021, the Spartans are poised to make another run at the state title.

“Should be a strong team,” said McFarland coach Brett Ogorzalek. “We return a lot of guys. We do lose a bunch of big studs on defense, so we’ll be looking to replace some of those strong players on defense, but we’ve got a lot of other weapons coming back.”

Returning for the fall season includes senior goalkeeper Matt Schutt and senior forward Zach Nichols, who scored 17 goals last season. Both players were named to the Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association state team for the alternate-fall season.

“They were amazing players for us last year. Maybe more importantly, it’s the leadership they bring to the team in the locker room, in the training sessions, the day to day stuff that you might not see during the games” that moves the needle, said Ogorzalek.

The graduations of midfielders Ben Hoang and Jake Sampson, Sampson being an all-state team nominee, leave holes for Coach Ogorzalek to fill. Junior Keegan Bell, who scored once and recorded two assists in the championship game, senior Kyle Connor, junior Bubba Blair and junior Mason Brown are expected to fill in at midfield.

Brown “was great for us last year,” said Ogorzalek. “He’s always dangerous on the wing, in the midfield or playing forward for us.”

The biggest holes to fill remain on the back line, after the graduation of Kobie Smith, Jackson Werwinski and Carter Mroweic, who were all named First-Team Rock Valley All-Conference for defense.

“All three of those guys were just amazing players and really smart, high soccer IQ players, who were able to read the game and anticipate where the ball is going,” said Ogorzalek.

Throughout the season, expect McFarland to be tested after scheduling tough games against Verona, Monona Grove, Sun Prairie, Oregon and Madison West.

“We’re delighted to get them on the schedule because we know that’s as good as it’s going to get. You won’t find many better teams in high school soccer in general, so we’re excited for the challenge,” said Ogorzalek.

McFarland holds tryouts for the open roster spots this week, and will kick off the season on the road against Verona on Tuesday, Aug. 24.

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