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Teams ready to roll in all-star soccer match

July 26, 2009
Northwest Montana A Conference

SHODAIR SOCCER CLASSIC: Teams ready to roll in all-star soccer match
By JEFF WINDMUELLER Helena Independent Record

The annual Shodair Soccer Classic will celebrate its 10th year at Nelson Stadium on Saturday night, and longtime soccer fans know that from the beginning it's been a hard-fought, all-star affair.

Founder Joel Maes remembers the first men's game when the final outcome was nearly decided in a brawl.

“I just remember that at the end of the game, there was a very active scrum in front of the goal,” he said. “There was a lot of physical contact and some emotions running high.”

After the West goalie was pulled down in his own box and the two groups emerged from the pile, the East squad had scored a goal to tie it up 2-2 with seconds to play. The game finished with it all notched up and the opponents nearly at each other's throats.

After the final whistle blew, the players had to step back from the game and ended up hugging and laughing over the whole incident.

“I think that moment made me realize how much the kids love the game and how hard they play,” Maes said. “The fact that it was a charity game had no impact whatsoever on the quality, intensity or level of energy they put in the game.”

Since then, Maes has seen some of his own sons play in the contest - Josh Maes was credited for the first assist scored in the men's contest while his youngest son Justin Maes competed in the game last year - and every game has brought the same level of competition.

Saturday's battles between the East and West men and Red and White women's teams are expected to be much the same.

The women's teams will face off first at 5 p.m. before the men take to the field at 7 p.m. Both squads are made up of all-state graduates from Montana Class AA and A levels.

“We were talking today about just how competitive it is,” said West men's head coach Carl Straub, who is on loan from Helena High. “It doesn't really matter the player or the position, the competitiveness really comes through.”

The West squad is expected to have an abundance of offensive talent that should keep the East's defense and starting goalie Ben King of 2008 state champion Billings West on their toes.

Straub expects Jackson Wilkins of Capital and Haley Klarich of Helena High to be a couple of sharpshooters on offense, meanwhile he's seen incredible talent in Cameron Clevidence of Flathead and Glacier High's Jarod Rice.

“We've got guys that are going to love to score goals,” Straub said. “I've encouraged them to, when they get the chance, take a rip at the goal.”

Nate Bell of Missoula Sentinel is expected to start in goal, while Helena's Chase Farrell and Sentinel's Sam Lentz and Justin Mikkola will spend much of the time on defense. Helena's Jake Staley is expected to see some time in the back.

“It will be interesting to see how they do,” Straub said. “Defensively, we're just going to have to put people back there and have them do their best.”

Much of their midfield will be made up of Class A players from Livingston, Laurel and Corvallis.

All three of Corvallis' players - Kyle Powers, Marshal Johnson and Forrest Hoyt - are listed as either midfield or forward.

“Soccer's been giong since 1991 in the state of montana, and I think everybody's getting to a pretty high level,” he said. “There are players on A that could get all-state at AA.”

On the women's side, the West squad has traditionally been the best, though this year the two teams had to break down because there weren't an even enough number of players from the two sides of the state.

“The girls aren't really called East and West, but the majority of our team is East,” said Red head coach Laurie Stergar of Billings Central “The West has kind of been dominant over the years, but we see that changing.”

Stergar believes the matchup will be a competition between her offensive-heavy Red squad and a more defensive sound White team.

“We are a very strong attacking team. We are heavy on the attack and on the offensive midfielders,” the coach said.

Touting the Gatorade Player of the Year, Lauren Hickok of AA champion Bozeman High, the Red hope to keep the White in their mostly in their own zone.

Hickok will be joined by a number of other players who have also signed with NCAA Division I squads (Hickok will be headed to Boise State in the fall), like former Bozeman teammate Allie Wisner and Jamie Greany out of Belgrade.

White head coach Scott Warnell, who will return to Flathead High next year, believes his team to have just the right balance to take on Red.

“We've got 18 players on the team and we're going to be able to sub pretty evenly among defense, midfield and forward and keep everyone fresh,” he said.

Lauren Costa, a Missoula Sentinel defender, won't likely be changing from her spot. A University of Montana recruit, she's expected to be an anchor in the back.

Meanwhile, Claire Chisholm of Missoula Hellgate and Nicole Hickey of C. M. Russell in Great Falls will be key on offense.

While the coaches have put their own stamp on the team's style of play, they know they don't have to worry too much about directing the talented group. Instead, they've spent the last week during practices, youth camps and Friday night's banquet marveling the incredibly gifted group they get to coach.

“When you get to coach a team of this caliber, of this talent, the best-of-the-best from the state of Montana, we're just going to watch,” Stergar said.


Men's teams

Team West

Coach: Carl Straub (Helena High) Assistant coach: Robin Farrell (Helena);


Colin Snodgrass, Hellgate, Missoula, M; Ben Corwin, Hellgate, Missoula, M/F; Nate Bell, Sentinel, Missoula, GK; Justin Mikkola, Sentinel, Missoula, M; Sam Lentz, Sentinel, Missoula, D; Haley Klarich, Helena High, M; Chase Farrell, Helena High, S; Jake Staley, Helena High, D; Jackson Wilkins, Capital High, F/M; Kellen Martin, Capital, M; Tommy Clinch, Capital, M/F; Cameron Clevidence, Flathead, Kalispell, F; Kyle Dixon, Flathead, M; Jake Danczyk, Whitefish, D; Marc Hotzfield, Whitefish, C; Patrick Jones, Whitefish, C; Evan May, Libby, C/F; Kyle Berke, Libby, M/F; Keio Salmonson, Polson, W; Travis Pete, Columbia Falls, M; Jarod Rice, Glacier, Kalispell, F/C/M

Team East

Coach: Glen Wall (Helena Middle School); Assistant coaches: Julian Calabrese (Helena); Jeff Reese (Helena), Brendon Byrd (Helena)


Jake Michelson, Great Falls High, F; Jordon Neiffer, Great Falls High, F/M; Derek Tice, Great Falls High, M; Kyle Copelan, CM Russell, Great Falls, D; Dustin Gillaspie, CM Russell, GK; Ben King, Billings West, GK; Jack Pueringer, Billings West, M/F; Ty Schmechel, Billings West, C; Levi Deeny, Billings Senior, D; Artem Shchepetkin, Bozeman, M/F; J B Lawrence, Butte, F; Keith McGlothlin, Laurel, M/F; Dalton Packard, Laurel, GK; Tony Bureau, Laurel, S; Cameron Mcallister, Park High, C/M; Wes Deen, Park, C/M; Graham Johnson, Hamilton, D; Michael Miller, Hamilton, M/F; Eric Depee, Stevensville, O; Ryan Kutter, Stevensville, M; Kyle Powers, Corvallis, M/F; Marshal Johnson, Corvallis, M/F; Forrest Hoyt, Corvallis, M

Women's teams

Team White

Coaches: Scott Warnell (Kalispell), Lini Reading (Whitefish High)


Lauren Costa, Sentinel, D; Emily Mason, Sentinel, GK; Claire Chisolm, Hellgate, D; Leigh Torceletti, Big Sky, M; Lauren Brophy, Helena High, M; Laura Beck, Helena High, D; Kelli Hubley, Helena High, D; Whitney Gerleman, Helena High, D; Eve Book, Helena High, D/F; Heidi Windauer, Flathead, F; Kelsey McCluskey, Whitefish, D; Carly Lengstorf, Whitefish, F; Megan Powell, Whitefish, F/M; Kylee Smith, Whitefish, F/D; Brittany Martin, Libby, F/D; Heather Howell, Polson, D; Erin King, Polson, D; Seeley Bloom, Stevensville, S; Sara Grimes, Stevensville, M; Nicole Hickey, CM Russell, F; Jayme Hill, CM Russell, D

Team Red

Coaches: Laurie Stergar (Billings Central), Megan Parish (Billings); Assistant coach: Erica Cannon (Bozeman)


Jacie Vonada, Capital, F; Jen Marshall, Capital, Ath; Molly Wilkins, Capital, M/F; Carlyn Anderson, Capital, D; Audrey Schadt, Capital, F; Lauren Hickok, Bozeman, M; Allie Wisner, Bozeman, F; Jordan Simkins, Bozeman, GK; Jamie Greany, Belgrade, F/M; Kelsey Caracciolo, Belgrade, F; Emily Schmit, Belgrade, GK; Aubree Danenhauer, Butte, M; Maggie Mickelson, Butte, M; Lexie Day, Laurel, F/M; Michelle Jones, Hamilton, M; Shenoa Weeks, Hamilton, M/F; Averyl LaSalle, Hamilton, D; Day Lynn Batey, Livingston, D

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