VALLEY — Athens’ boys soccer team has had quite a run of late, winning numerous NTL championships and going deep into the playoffs. This season, Athens went 11-0 in league play and 15-4 overall.
Athens is on a run of six straight Northern Tier League championships and 66 straight league games without a loss. The only “mar” on the record is a tie with Wellsboro in 2017.
A number of the reasons the Wildcats have been so good walked away with the bulk of the Northern Tier League First Team Soccer All-Star squad’s major awards.
Leading the charge for Athens are Co-Players of the Year and NTL All-State selections Aaron Lane and Luke Arnold. Lane, at the point of the spear, had a team-high 27 goals and 14 assists for 68 total points. Arnold had a balanced 18 goals and 17 assists for 53 points.
On the other side of the pitch, David Scheftic was key to Athens allowing three goals to NTL opponents and posting nine shutouts. His efforts earned him Co-Defensive Player of the Year with Wellsboro’s Luke Leach. Wellsboro’s Will Poirier took home Offensive Player of the Year and Athens’ Jake Lezak was the Coach of the Year.
Joining those players as first-team selections were forwards Cody VanBenthuysen of Sayre and Wellsboro’s Kaeden Mann and Joe Grabb; midfielders Jessie Sumner of Athens and Brandon Kuhn of Northeast Bradford; defenders Doug Vosburg of Athens and Zach Singer of Wellsboro; and goalies Joel Maslin of Athens and Wiliamson’s Josh Hultz.
Second-team forwards include Northeast Bradford’s Brady Brown and Gavin Merritt; Galeton’s Jake Cochran; Liberty’s Caiden Alexander; and Gabe Prince; the second-team midfielders are Athens’ Alex Rowe; Wellsboro’s Luke Pondo; Northeast Bradford’s Julian Jampo; Troy’s JP Landis; and Galeton’s Ty Stover; Athens’ Matt Nowacaski leads off the second-team defenders and is joined by Northeast Bradford’s DJ Brown; Troy’s Wyatt Hadlofski; Wellsboro’s Zach Rowland; and Galeton’s Noah Shutt; and the second-team goalie is Troy’s Owen Williams.
Local honorable-mentions include Sayre’s Mason Hughey and the Athens trio of Nate Quinn, Ben Gambrell and Owen Richardson.