Members of the Lawrence Technological University Men’s Soccer Team were recognized for their hard work and dedication during the team’s banquet held Nov. 17. The MVP award went to freshman defenseman Justin Pilarski who was noted for being an all-around team player both on and off the soccer pitch.
“Justin is a relentless player who demands the best from himself, his teammates, and coaches. His work ethic was tremendous, and he is an asset to our program,” said Head Coach Will Dyer. Sophomore forward Justin Ritchey, who finished the year with 28 points on 13 goals and two assists, was named “Top Offensive Player.” Ritchey has been the team’s leading goal scorer for the past two years.
“Teams would have to put two to three defenders on him to shut him down. Justin has a nose for the goal, and will continue to be an instrumental part of our attack in the upcoming years,” said Dyer. Top defensive player honors went to freshman Nick Karlis who played in all 18 games and recorded two assists. Dyer said, “Nick was a very physical player and an influential part of our back line. Nick was a workhorse and a very strong defender.” David Hurrish received the “Senior Award” for being the true definition of a team player and giving his best every time he stepped on the pitch or in the classroom. Hurrish was also awarded the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference All-Academic Award this past season.
“David is one of those players that every coach dreams of having a whole team of. No matter what you ask of him, he said yes, always with a smile. I will miss having David out there and wish him the best upon graduating this year,” said Dyer.
Freshman forward Noah Balanda was chosen for the Captain’s Award because of his effort and spirit.
“Noah had the most significant improvement on the team but still saw little playing time and not once complained about his role on the team. He was as essential part of the team as anybody else and holds his Lawrence Tech varsity soccer position with the highest regard,” said Dyer.
The coach commented that his young team had a rough first year in the WHAC with a 0-9-1 conference record. He said the season was a learning experience for the players and coaches.