Kahlie Arneson receives congratulations from RHS girls’ soccer assistant coach Jason Lowry during the team’s banquet at the Cedric A. Vig Outdoor Classroom Monday, June 24. Arneson was voted the team’s MVP and received the award during the banquet. She was 10-5-0 on the season with a 1.17 goals against average and a .822 save percentage. (Photos by Bob Mainhardt for the River News)
Rhinelander High School girls’ soccer varsity award winners pose for a photograph following the team’s banquet at the Cedric A. Vig Outdoor Classroom Monday, June 24. Pictured, from left to right, are Emma Hjelle, Emma Roberts, Izzy Haverkampf, Jaden Olski, Kahlie Arneson, Payton Van Zile and Rachel Steffen. Award winners Brooke Mork and Gwyn Lowry were unavailable for the photograph.
6/27/2019 7:32:00 AM GK Arneson headlines award winners for RHS girls' soccer team
The Rhinelander High School girls' soccer team's last line of defense was recognized by her peers as the first reason the Hodags made another deep run in the WIAA tournament.
Sophomore goalkeeper Kahlie Arneson was named the team's most valuable player and received the award during the Hodags' year-end banquet Monday at the Cedric A. Vig Outdoor Classroom.
Arneson was one of several players honored by the team at the banquet, with the majority of the awards voted on by the players. Izzy Haverkampf, Gwyn Lowry and Emma Hjelle were the team's offensive, midfield and defensive MVPs, respectively. In all, 10 players on the varsity squad received some sort of award.
Arneson, who was a unanimous first-team All-Great Northern Conference selection at keeper, went 10-5-0 for the Hodags this spring with a 1.17 goals against average and a .822 save percentage. She also had a hand in the nine shutouts the Hodags recorded this season.
First-year head coach Richard Kotula said he was proud that Arneson's teammates recognized her importance for the team between the woodwork.
"Kahlie is one of those goalkeepers that can not only to save the ball but is also able to receive the back pass and distribute it well," Kotula said. "She rarely made a mistake doing it. Some of those goals she got scored on were goals that are really difficult to save, but she came strong (to challenge plays) so many times and she saved our butts so many times."
Haverkampf, a junior, developed into the team's leading scorer this season with 33 points overall on 14 goals and five assists. Her 11 goals in Great Northern Conference play were tied for second in the league.
"Izzy loves soccer," Kotula said. "She's very dedicated. She wants to score goals. She's seen what happened last year when we lost Alayna (Franson), lost Anna Sturzl - some of the powerhouses that were scoring for us. Someone needed to fill their shoes and Izzy did a great job of doing it."
Hjelle was an anchor for a Hodag defensive unit that allowed only six goals in conference play, and conceded 20 goals in all competitions. She also received the coaches' award from Kotula for her leadership on and off the pitch.
"She just wants to protect our side, protect Kahlie and be the leader that helps the team succeed from the back side. She had shown tremendous leadership this year," he said. "Emma, she's one of the coaches pretty much. I've really on her pretty much from the moment I was announced as the next coach. It was difficult. We didn't have much time to prepare. There was a lot of work to be done and Emma, she spearheaded a lot of it. She communicated with players, made things happen behind the scenes. I knew I could always rely on her."
Lowry had five goals and three assists this year as she moved around to different positions on the field. In past seasons, the Hodags have only recognized overall, offensive and defensive MVPs, but Kotula said it was important to add a midfield MVP to the mix.
"The midfield is always forgotten for some reason," he said. "(The award) goes to the player that has the most chemistry, a player that we can put in any position and the girls can see that that player is performing at every position. She also has great vision and can see what's going on, on the field. She is definitely a player that is instrumental to our team's success - not only defensively but offensively."
Aside from Hjelle, four other seniors were recognized. Emma Roberts, with what Kotula said was a final cumulative GPA of 4.66, won the academic excellence award. Jaden Olski was voted the team's most dedicated player, Brooke Mork received the sportsmanship award and Payton Van Zile was presented with the team's #HodagStrong Award, as the player who best embodied the team's motto of being Hodag Strong.
"Payton, as a leader, as a player, as a senior, playing this game even though she's injured and supporting the team from the sidelines was something that was noticed," Kotula said.
Sophomore goalkeeper Lisa White, Arneson's backup, was voted the team's most improved player and sophomore defender Rachel Steffen received the team's Miss Hustle award.
Rhinelander went 11-5-0 overall this season and finished second in the Great Northern Conference with an 8-2-0 league mark. The Hodags defeated Marshfield during the regular season to help earn the No. 1 seed in its half sectional for the WIAA tournament but Marshfield avenged that loss, defeating the Hodags 4-0 in the sectional semifinals June 6 on their way to the WIAA Division 2 state tournament.
"Even though it ended on kind of a sour note with the Marshfield loss, I thought it was a great season and we accomplished a lot of good things," Kotula said.
Freelancer Bob Mainhardt contributed to this report.
Jeremy Mayo may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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