November 18, 2010 at 10:11 a.m.

North Branch boys soccer doles out awards

North Branch boys soccer doles out awards
North Branch boys soccer doles out awards

One season removed from a 1-0 loss in the Section 7A championship game, most observers did not expect the Viking boys' soccer team to contend again after the graduation of forward Brian Grand and goalkeeper Austin Holmes. But the Vikings, buoyed by the prolific scoring combination of seniors Nick Miller and Tony Ceroll and the emergence of senior goalkeeper Jake Borash, proved the critics wrong. The sixth-seeded Vikings made it all the way to the section semifinals despite a rash of injuries. They lost 1-0 to second-seeded Proctor, who beat Hermantown to go to the state tournament.

"Overall, we had a successful season again," said Viking head coach Graeme Jury. "What really hurt us most was the key injury to Nick Miller." Indeed. Miller had 28 goals to lead the state midway through the season. His scoring slowed down considerably after his knee injury. He ended up finishing with 31 goals, still good enough for third place overall. Ceroll was fifth in the state with 23 assists, and the two players tied for seventh in overall scoring with 36 points apiece.

The Vikings had 14 seniors on the squad this year and will only have three returning varsity players next season. "I think that's why this group of kids had so much success," said Jury. They have been playing together for so many years. I think we may go through a couple of lean seasons before we build this back up a bit."

Jury talked about his award winners. "Jake Borash, our senior goalkeeper, was a captain and a true leader on this team. He was the most vocal in getting everybody up for the game. He yelled from the goal line what to do and where to go in an encouraging way. Austin Holmes was the same way last year and I was pleased to have two goalkeepers in a row like that.

"Last year, Kyle Johnson only gave us about a fifty percent commitment. He missed practices and games. But this season, he put in a lot of effort. His attitude improved, he made every practice and really improved his ballhandling skills. He became someone I could just plug into various positions on the team and was as valuable to have on the field as anybody. He knew he wouldn't start but put forth full effort anyway."

The Vikings' Commitment Award is given to players "who put everything into practices and games all season," said Jury. "You know you can depend upon them for that level of commitment all the time." As shown below, seven Vikings received the Commitment Award this season.

Last but not least, Jury lavished praise on his dynamic scoring duo. He said "Tony Ceroll was amazing. He emerged from Brian Grand's shadow and could have been the out and out goal scoring star on this team. But really early on, he adopted his role as playmaker and made the very talented Nick Miller into the "Hurricane", as he was called in a newspaper article this season. The nickname stuck with him and he certainly brought us a lot of scoring."

Conference Awards

All Conference

Senior Tony Ceroll

Senior Nick Miller

Senior Jake Borash

Team Awards

Coach's Player of the Year

Senior Jake Borash

Most Improved

Senior Kyle Johnson

Commitment Award

Junior Justin Brunet

Senior Tony Ceroll

Senior Tyler Ertl

Junior Trent Holmes

Senior Mitch Gurmundson

Senior Zach Mattson

Senior Mike SantaBrigida

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