Montrose soccer seniors leave legacy of teamwork, talent

There were 10 seniors on the Montrose Area varsity soccer squad. From left:  Matt Simonds, Frank Fruehan, Erik Burgh, Casey Nickerson, Sal Vetri, Corey Ross-Robertson, Gabriel Hamernick, Justin Hartman, Matt Lewis, and (front) Joey Griffiths

There were 10 seniors on the Montrose Area varsity soccer squad. From left: Matt Simonds, Frank Fruehan, Erik Burgh, Casey Nickerson, Sal Vetri, Corey Ross-Robertson, Gabriel Hamernick, Justin Hartman, Matt Lewis, and (front) Joey Griffiths

BY HEIDI ZENEFSKI
Sports Correspondent

Ten seniors played as part of the Montrose varsity soccer team this past season, leaving not only a 10-3 record but a legacy of talent and teamwork that stood out to coaches, fans and the other players.

Coach Dan Cherney said the best thing about coaching this season’s team was, “The way they interact. It was fun every day.”

Senior midfielder Matt Simonds said, “We had the best sense of team. We were more like a true family than just a group of guys playing next to each other.”

Left back defensive player Sal Vetri, also a senior, agreed, “The friendship that we have definitely had a huge impact on our success as a team.”

This sentiment was never more evident than right after the last game of the season. Players boarded the bus with tears streaming down their faces – not because they lost the game but because their time together as a team had ended.

Corey Ross-Robertson, a defenseman, said his best memory was “the last night of my high school soccer career because I’ve never felt closer to a group of friends in my life.”

Cherney said he would miss the example set by the 10, on and off the soccer field, of playing with class and unselfishness. In one game, there were at least six different players who scored goals. When Montrose was up on another team by several goals, the varsity players often came out of the game to give the junior varsity player some playing time, Cherney said.

With few junior varsity games on the schedule, on several occasions the seniors volunteered to be ball boys – a role traditionally the job of first year members – so the freshman could get some playing time.

Jared Geisler, 10th grade, said, “I was given more opportunities to play because the varsity players were so unselfish with the ball. When I scored a goal in a varsity game, the first person to congratulate me was (senior) Casey Nickerson. They truly wanted to see all of us succeed. It wasn’t about who could score the most goals or who looked the best on the stat sheet. ”

Off the field, the senior players also set an example in the classroom. According to Coach Cherney, 19 of the players in attendance at the Nov. 17 Soccer Banquet, were on the honor roll, including the 10 seniors.

The future of Montrose soccer looks bright despite graduating so many players this year. The underclassmen have talent and skill and the junior high team also had a stand-out season.

Cherney feels that as long as the players continue to work hard and improve, they will continue to see success.

Players said Cherney, along with assistant coach Ryan Soden, have a way of bringing out the best in an athlete.

“We all learned how to respect others and at the same time earn the respect for ourselves. Also through their coaching soccer we learned numerous life lessons.” Senior Matt Lewis said.

Erik Burgh, the senior right midfielder, said, “This team is not 11 guys playing on the field. It is 24 family members bonding and making memories with each other while playing a sport we love.”

The Montrose Varsity Soccer Senior players were: Erik Burgh, son of Timothy and Connie Burgh; Casey Nickerson, son of Chadwick and Shasta Richmond; Gabriel Hamernick, son of Don and Mary Hamernick; Matt Lewis, son of William and Deborah Lewis; Frank Fruehan, son of Francis and Kim Fruehan; Justin Hartman, son of Eddie and Pam Hartman; Matt Simonds, son of Jeff and Jenny Simonds; Sal Vetri, son of Sal and Jackie Vetri; Corey Ross-Robertson, son of Jim and Mary Ross-Robertson; and Joey Griffiths, son of Lonnie and Stacy Griffiths.