Knights end inaugural JV soccer season at home

Union boys’ soccer captains Brock Ruzicka (14) and Mason Herman (10) work to move the ball downfield while battling the South Tama Trojans on Friday, May 5, during their final game of the season in La Porte City. Union’s Kellen Satterlee (7) is also pictured. PHOTO BY SOREN M. PETERSON

The Knights boys soccer team ended its inaugural junior varsity season at home on Friday, May 5, losing to South Tama 2-1 in what ended up being a scrimmage due to no-show referees.

Union finished this new first season as a singular, non-sharing team – Union’s previous agreement with Hudson ended last fall – with a 3-5-2 record.

“The boys played hard and continued to grow all season,” head coach Matt Brustkern told the Telegraph following the game. “One major opportunity is learning to maintain possession, we often did not connect more than one or two passes at a time.”

During the 2022-23 season, Union notched 26 shots on goal with five goals scored by junior Brock Ruzicka (captain), three by freshman Hunter Brustkern, one by junior Mason Herman (captain), and one by freshman Henry Hegdahl.

Keeper Colton Wenszell, a freshman, made 39 saves and allowed eight goals – an 83% save accuracy.

Captain Brock Ruzicka pictured during Union’s May 5 home scrimmage with South Tama – the Knights’ final game of the season. Ruzicka led the offense for the JV Knights this inaugural season by scoring five goals. PHOTO BY SOREN M. PETERSON

When asked to comment on the possibility of the Knights stepping up to varsity next season, coach Brustkern responded, “I think we could be ready for varsity if we can get enough interest next year. I am sure there would be some tough competition but I think we would be competitive for a few games.”

During the Monday, May 15 regular meeting of the Union Board of Education, board members were scheduled to consider approval of a boys’ varsity soccer program for the 2023-24 school year.

The Telegraph asked coach Brustkern if he would be interested in coaching again next season if the team moves from junior varsity to varsity, to which he responded: “[I]t’s possible, I could be back next year if given the opportunity. It takes a lot of time and commitment but has been very rewarding to see the boys have some success.”

Ahead of the scrimmage with the Trojans, the Knights celebrated graduating senior soccer athletes Asher Beermann, Brady Spence, Oomatbek Baratov, and Hamed Agossa.