With nine returning starters, the Christian/Lutheran soccer team obviously has high expectations.
“The reality is we have another great team this year,” coach Dan Oppeneeer said. “But the other reality is Oostburg returns pretty much their entire team as well.”
The co-op team shared the Big East Conference crown with the Flying Dutchmen last year because they played to a tie in the regular season. Christian/Lutheran then lost to Oostburg in a shootout in the playoffs.
“We’re very even with Oostburg,” Oppeneer said.
Junior Nathan Richardson was the only sophomore in the Big East last year to make first-team all-league. He’s been his team’s attacking midfielder since his freshman year.
“He’s just got an incredible amount of talent,” Oppeneer said. “Everything goes through him. He was a little banged up last year and had some injuries he dealt with; when he’s not on the field, it’s very evident. It’s difficult for our offense to flow as well.”
AT A GLANCE
• The Eagles shared first in the Big East with Oostburg; the last time they won the title was 2015.
n Nine starters return, including Nathan Richardson, a junior midfielder. He was the only sophomore in the league to earn all-Big East first team. Those back that made the second team are senior Matt Walz, and juniors Caden Solle and goalie Tony Schmitz; junior Caleb Hendrikse received honorable mention.
• The new coach is Dan Drida. This is the first time he’s a head coach after spending four years with the Golden Raiders after stints in Wisconsin Rapids and West Bend. “I’m incredibly excited for this opportunity,” he said. “We’ve got a great group of boys.”
• He replaces Tim Eirich after 15 seasons; he will remain the girls coach. “I guess it was time,” he said. “I’ll miss working with the boys and building relationships with them.”
• Varsity played just one game last year because of COVID-19.
• Jacob Rubsam is the new coach after serving as an assistant the previous seven years. “I learned a lot about what to do and what not to do,” he said. “Being able to communicate with the boys is a key factor for me and so far that’s what I’m preaching to them.”
• Sophomore forward Giovanny Alba returns after earning all-conference second team. Senior defender Cris Maschio was also all-conference (honorable mention).