Once again, Kusel Stadium recently hosted one of the longest running continuous high school alumni games in the Cincinnati area – the Annual Alumni Soccer Match. This year the 2016 Mariemont High School Varsity Soccer Squad matched up against Mariemont High School Soccer Alumni in the 37th Annual Alumni Match.
2016 brought a welcomed twist to the event – the Mariemont High School Lady Warriors joined and showed off their talent against the Mariemont High School Lady Warrior alumni. And now Coach Mike Haney’s current varsity soccer squad has marked its first victory of the season!
Coach Erik Vanags has returned to the Mariemont High School soccer program in his sixth season as head coach and led the boys varsity team in a compelling match against the alumni. Tyler Martin, JV head coach and assistant varsity coach, put on a red shirt and played with the MHS alumni.
"The alumni game was another success for the soccer program at the high school. There were alumni from all recent decades of our history. This is the first time I can remember every era being present. With over 30 guys from past and present coming together for the occasion, it was a fun affair from the start," aid Coach Vanags.
The match featured a father versus son, with former coach Joe Mehl facing off against his freshman son, Andrew. There were two sets of brothers competing against each other - Cole Brandser playing against junior Andrew Brandser and recent graduate Spencer Stutenroth against freshman Wil Stutenroth. The Gerberick boys, Reed and Bobby sans Ben, lined up for the alumni as well. Wil Stutenroth opened the scoring putting the school squad up 1-0 before Spencer evened the game right at the half, with 12 seconds remaining. The alumni looked to improve their recent record against the school boys and came out blazing in the second half. Recent grads Connor Jacob and Adam Romick were instrumental in setting up goals scored by Garrett Welch, Jacob Harding, Connor Jacob and Matthew Teeters. The last goal for the alumni came from a free kick by Romick to find the head of former goalie Matthew Teeters. The school team was able to muster an excellent effort by Bobby Dennerll to chip over the head of Jason Brokamp.
"Overall the game was very entertaining and the alumni will be happy to record its first win in the past four games, running out 5-2 as the winners. Jay Gohman was all smiles as he grabbed the trophy alumni game ball and held it aloft, thus ending the longest continuously run alumni game in the city. The best part was the camaraderie and spirit evident throughout - the game illustrated the ideals of sportsmanship. It was excellent to see heroes of the past engaging with the present and the future."
The scrimmage wouldn’t be complete without involving the entire community. The future MHS soccer squads took the field during halftime for open play, and the Mariemont High School cheerleaders were there to cheer on the varsity team, adding to the festive atmosphere. MHS senior, Victoria Crabtree treated the crowd to a wonderful rendition of the National Anthem.
Thank you to the varsity/JV team families for concession donations to both sell and feed and hydrate the players. Generating funds for the current soccer season is an added benefit to this terrific event. Many thanks to the community sponsors for their support: Dinsmore & Scholl Law Firm (Hinebaugh); Jerry T. Garrison/ Keller Williams Advisors Realty; Manley Burke Law Firm (Christopher); Market6 (Stephens); Mio's Pizzeria, Mariemont; Total Wealth Planning (Wilder), and Steve Spooner (check out the game photos here).
This long-standing tradition continues for the Class of 2017 on Soccer Senior Night, when each senior player receives their red soccer alumni shirt. Hopefully all 11 players will be back next year to play with “The Old Guys”! The alumni shared memories of past glories and challenged the boys to continue the program's upward trajectory. And every team member accepts the challenge of Coach Vanags’ expectation: “Leave the program better than you found it.”