Oak Harbor senior midfielder Tate Haar wouldn’t have felt complete had he not earned Sandusky Bay Conference player of the year status while in high school.
Rockets freshman Emma Barney has yet to complete her first varsity season.
Neither will have to wait any longer for recognition as the league’s top performer as each captured player of the year honors this season.
“It means a lot,” Haar said. “It’s been a goal since my sophomore year to win it. It sets another goal. Now, I can hope for district or Northwest Ohio player of the year. That’s another standard. I work hard. I do it for the team, for the fans, for the family.
“I wasn’t surprised. It’s something I needed to accomplish. It’s a confidence boost.”
Barney fit in seamlessly her first year in high school.
“The team and (coach) Renee (Goldstein) welcomed me,” she said. “There are five freshmen, so that helped, too.
“I’m happy but very surprised. I didn’t think that would ever happen as a freshman.”
Haar has 28 assists and 16 goals this season but also played a role defensively. He prides himself on being versatile.
“I’d rather set up a goal,” he said. “Coach (Ken Filar) says assists mean more than goals. Assists are basically goals.
“I wouldn’t be the player I am without (versatility). There are not too many kids on our team who aren’t versatile.”
Barney, who was second on the team in goals to Paige Velliquette and led in assists, agrees with Haar.
“It feels good to help somebody else score,” Barney said. “It still feels good to score …”
The highlights for the boys, who have won every game except for a tie with Norwalk in the regular-season finale, came with victories over Port Clinton and Ottawa Hills.
“Those were two of the best teams we’ve played,” Haar said. “Everybody was aggressive. The second time against Port Clinton away we won 1-0 with 6 minutes left. We were down 1-0 at the half against Ottawa Hills and won the game (2-1) with 11 minutes left.
“Those were emotional games. They got everybody going and brought everybody together.”
The girls, who lost once to Woodmore and tied Huron, rebounded to beat the Tigers 8-1 in a second meeting. They hope for a similar progression should they meet the Wildcats in the postseason.
“That gave us confidence back,” Barney said of topping Huron.
Oak Harbor’s girls have won the SBC every year since a league was formed for soccer. The biggest goal is to advance to regionals for the first time.
“It’s very important,” Barney said of the trend. “We don’t want to be the first team not to win the SBC. We have to keep working hard to keep that title.”
The Rockets’ boys also won the conference outright this season.
“Winning the league and playing the way we did as a team brought us together,” Haar said. “Playing Norwalk at the end of the season helped. We’re going to work hard no matter who we play. We’ve never made it out of districts in school history so that’s a big goal. We won’t be overconfident.”
Oak Harbor goalkeeper Kyle Draper was a unanimous selection while defender Brandon Schimming and attacker Burnette were also first-team picks. Defender Tyler Sievert and midfielder Tim Poiry were second-team while Connor Eli, David Birchall, Derek Wood, Tyler Bowlick and Allen Leuke were honorable mention.
Burnette, who has 26 goals, scored the only goal in the Rockets game at Port Clinton and both goals in the win over Ottawa Hills.
“Andy could play defense,” Haar said. “All the midfielders play good defense. Tyler Sievert can play offense. Tyler Bowlick has a rocket. Brandon and Tyler are the best defenders in the league. We had one goal scored on us in the league and it was a penalty kick. We shut out the league. Kyle played four of five games last year. He’s impressed me a lot. He’s matured so much. He’s worked hard and played above and beyond what I expected.
“Without Andy and Connor we don’t win. Andy scored when we needed him. He scored the glory goals. He and Connor were huge for us. From the D to the midfielders to their feet and in the goal.”
Clyde defender David Murphy, midfielder Alex Medley and attacker Zack Taylor were first team while Seth Magers, Dristen Cook, Kevin Langenfelder, Alex Norman and Thomas Arians were honorable mention.
Rockets defender Karis DeWalt and attacker Velliquette were first-team picks for the girls. Velliquette and Barney have developed chemistry making runs, anticipating and working together.
Goaltender Ivy Martin and midfielder Amanda Hetrick were second team while Maddy Rathbun, Hannah Hess, Alexa Weis, Noelle Petersen and Emily Winters were honorable mention.
“Her outside shots and her corner kicks are her biggest strengths,” Barney said of Hetrick. “She sees the field and is a strong defender.”
Fliers defender Christy Dickman, midfielder Kayla Middleton and attacker Kelly Wollenslegel were second team while Madison Young, Makylin Lozier, Alyssa Friedberg, Gabriella Ohms and Jewel Roberts were honorable mention.