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Villa Madonna Boys Soccer
9/2/2009 - by Russ Beymer

“Fresh” air for Villa Madonna Soccer

This year’s Blue Lightning boys soccer team has a very fresh feel. A new coach, Dan Albrinck, takes over the reigns of a program that started to get more aggressive in scheduling and developing players over the past few seasons under Jason Voight. The team also features its largest single grade of participants ever with 14 freshman players, several of whom play on the varsity roster.

Albrinck is quick to remind that the team also has a group of leaders in its seniors. “Alex Schmitt, Zach Steinkoenig, Alexander VanMelle, and Chris Cauhorn lead by example in practices and games, which makes all of other players work harder too.” Backing this bunch is a group of juniors led by Andrew McLean, Mike Haynes, and Jake Shubert.

Through an opening stretch that has featured games against perennial powerhouse teams like Highlands, St. Henry, and Conner, McLean leads the team in scoring with 3 goals and 1 assist, Schmitt is the vocal and emotional team leader who has 61 saves in this opening stretch of games to keep his team in every game. Steinkoenig anchors the defense nearly every minute of every game, while Cauhorn plays as much across the front line. Haynes is a defensive fixture, who can make plays and stop opponents’ rushes. Shubert has speed and versatility to play all over the field and get results. Both Haynes and Shubert have points in the young season.

Aside from 3 goals scored by Highlands in the last 5 minutes of their game, the Blue Lightning have played every opponent close and Albrinck sees good things ahead. “We came into this season with goals to be playing post season soccer and end up with a top ten ranking, I think we have made strong case for these so far."

Last night, against Calvary Christian, they showed some of the promise to which Albrinck made reference. Carrying the play for most of the game, they pressured the Cougars with dozens of plays around the Calvary net, but the youth showed in many missed shots and weak finishes. The Blue Lightning converted one of many pretty passing plays when Alexander VanMelle found Andrew McLean in the center of the field and the VMA scoring leader put the Lightning up at the twenty-five minute mark of the first half. Then Villa went back on a streak of missed opportunities and frustration. That frustration bubbled over in fouls and opportunities for Calvary Christian in the second half. On one of only a few chances the Cougars had in the game to get a clear shot at Villa’s goal, forward Andrew Moran bounced a pretty shot off the far post just past a diving Alex Schmitt. The game ended in a 1 – 1 tie and the painful lesson of “good play not quite finished” settled in as the Villa players walked off the field and looked for answers in their shoe tops or up to the heavens.

Freshmen, like Marius VanMelle and Daniel Hillenmeyer are getting significant playing time with the varsity team and are showing why they belong on the field with the best players from opposing teams. “Daniel has the physical ability to play with seniors and Marius possesses the skills”, stated Albrinck. Another freshman contributing significant playing time and play-making ability is Thomas Steinkoenig, his play in the midfield shows he’s spent a lot time working with his older brother Zach.

While the future appears bright for Villa Soccer, coach Albrinck is quick to point out that this year’s squad still has lots of opportunity to set a high standard. “Teams have seen the improvement over the last few seasons and know they have to play hard against us, now it’s up to us to take the next step in developing a quality soccer program…consistency and results.”
The Mission of Villa Madonna Academy is to educate students in grades K – 12 for full Christian participation in 21st century life. Villa is committed to forming students who seek God in the Benedictine traditions of peace and reverence, scholarship, service and community. For more information contact the school office at 859-331-6333 or
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