The champions of the Midwestern League find themselves well-represented on the list of season honors.
Ashland High junior midfielder Scott Gustafson was named MWL co-MVP and, for the second straight season, Grizzlies head coach Abdi Guled was honored as the co-Coach of the Year in a vote by the nine league coaches.
Gustafson, a second-team all-MWL pick in 2017, shared MVP honors with Eagle Point’s Matthew Soper, while Eagle Point head coach Martin Hernandez was the other half of the top coaching award.
In total, 11 Ashland players earned all-league honors between the first team, second team and honorable mention lists.
Ashland, which was eliminated from the OSAA Class 5A playoffs in heartbreaking fashion with a 2-1 double-overtime loss to Wilsonville on Tuesday night, finished the year with a 8-4-2 record.
Gustafson, the Grizzlies’ engine in the center of the midfield, took on a much bigger role this season after being a regular starter as a sophomore. As one of Ashland’s two captains, Gustafson finished the season with eight goals and eight assists, two of the highest totals on the team.
“He’s just a well rounded player. From all of his skills to his character, he’s a dream player to have,” Guled said of Gustafson. “He just works hard and he’s improved so much from last year to this year. He wants our measuring to be ‘Everybody follow Scottie.’ It helps so much and it rubs off on the rest of the team. Nobody doesn’t want to not give 100 percent. The coaches and the players know his attitude is great to be around.”
Joining Gustafson on the first team is his central midfield partner, sophomore Carson Pindell, and junior defender Samuel Austin.
Three Grizzlies received second-team all-MWL honors — freshman Davidson Graham, sophomore Noah Aguilar and junior Milan Pyle.
Graham, Ashland’s speedy center forward, finished his freshman campaign as the Grizzlies’ leading scorer with 14 goals, including a four-goal outburst within the first 30 minutes of his team’s 9-0 win over Crater on Oct. 18. He also tallied four assists this season.
Ashland’s other captain, senior Trevor Fulton, was one of four honorable mention selections along with Michael Holden, Rio Giancarlo and Gabriel Giancarlo, who recorded seven shutouts in the Grizzlies’ 14 games this season.
Prep Girls Soccer
ANNEN EARNS FIRST TEAM ALL-MWL HONORS: Ashland senior forward Lily Annen was named as a first-team all-Midwestern League selection in a vote of the league’s coaches, it was announced earlier this week.
Annen, one of five seniors on the Grizzlies’ otherwise incredibly young roster this season, finished with a team-high 10 goals.
A pair of Grizzlies, junior defender Mya Holzshu and senior forward Raisa Rich, were honorable mention picks. Rich had two goals and one assist, while Hozshu was the leader of a very young Grizzlies backline.
Thurston senior midfielder Jaida Nyby was named the MWL’s Player of the Year, while Churchill’s Timothy Meltabarger and Christine Guldager shared Coach of the Year honors.
PHILPOTT EARNS MWL HONORS: Ashland senior libero Sydney Philpott was named as a second-team all-league selection following a vote of Midwestern League coaches, it was announced earlier this week.
Grizzlies junior setter Gace Angermeier was named as an honorable mention selection.
Ashland finished in sixth place in the MWL this season, going 6-10 in league play and 7-15 overall — both improvements over the 2017 campaign.
Contact Danny Penza at 541-776-4483 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @penzatopaper.