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Three Port players shine in soccer PDF Print E-mail
Written by MITCH MAERSCH   
Wednesday, 08 November 2017 21:05

Hughes, Clark made second team in North Shore Conference that includes some of the state’s best

In one of the most brutal soccer conferences in the state — Whitefish Bay just won its third straight state title — Port Washington had three standout players earn All-North Shore Conference honors, and Grafton had one.
Port junior midfielder Ben Hughes and senior goalie River Clark made the second team, and senior defender Josh Holtebeck earned honorable mention.
Grafton senior midfielder Brian Holdmann earned honorable mention.
Port coach Sean O’Brien said it was an impressive honor for Hughes.
“That’s a tough category. I think there was about 25 guys nominated. For him to get a second team with the depth of the conference this year, was remarkable and deserving,” he said.
PW G SOCCER (CR) s2101017147Hughes scored 10 goals and had seven assists, being part of more than half of the team’s scoring.
“A lot of our stuff went through Ben,” O’Brien said. “He’s a pretty dynamic player, good at reading the game.”
Hughes was a captain this season and was already chosen to the same leadership post next year.
“The guys look up to him and respect him as a player and as a student-athlete, too. People forget he’s a junior. He’s going to be a key one coming back,” O’Brien said.
Clark has been stuck on second team behind Whitefish Bay superstar Elian Haddock, whom O’Brien said is being considered for the U.S. national team, the past couple of seasons.

“River is a good goalie. There are a lot of good goalies in our conference, but to get that recognition in the North Shore is special,” O’Brien said.
“He makes the spectacular save look routine. We had that safety net back there, no pun intended.”
Clark allowed just more than one goal per game this season, and his career average is 1.1. He missed one game this year when he was out of town, and barely missed any in his four-year varsity career, all as a starter.
“He’s a little bit more of our vocal leader in the back, kind of a dynamic personality. Kids kind of gravitate toward him. He’s our emotional leader as well. He’s just a good teammate,” O’Brien said.
Holtebeck made second team last year, which O’Brien said speaks to the depth of the conference this year.
A four-year starter, he played in 82 straight games for us, “Brett Favre or Cal Ripken-esque,” O’Brien said.
Holtebeck has been involved in 25 shutouts in his career.
“There wasn’t much he wouldn’t do. He was never wrong footed. He was hard to get past,” O’Brien said.
Although his style was unorthodox, Holtebeck made it work.
“He gets the job done. He can play with both feet and is good in the air — just an all-around defender,” O’Brien said.
Holdmann was a captain and a bright spot for the Hawks, who struggled to win games this season.
“He was our go-to guy,” coach Don Arnold said.
On varsity since he was a freshman, he played midfield, center back and a little on top, he said.
“He’s one of those guys you can count on to play hard,” Arnold said.
“He was one of those kids that you can look at and know he was doing a little extra for the team and putting the work in.”
Whitefish Bay had seven of the first team’s 11 selections. Cedarburg had two, and Homestead and Nicolet one each.

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