Chris Christman, Evan Towry voted boys soccer top players

Benny Westcott

Goalkeeper Evan Towry and midfielder Chris Christman, both seniors, were named Sweet Home boys soccer MVPs at an end of season awards banquet at the high school cafeteria on Monday, Nov. 7.

Towry averaged 12+ saves per game, according to Head Coach Eric Stutzer, and posted three 16+ save games in a row. He also recorded multiple 20+ save games. The keeper additionally enjoyed a 80% save percentage for the season, and was pivotal in Sweet Home’s shut out of East Linn Christian Academy on Sept. 13.

Towry was an Honorable Mention in all-league voting for the 4A Oregon West Conference, the third time in his career he has been awarded that honor.

Christman missed a lot of games due to injury this season, but in the five games that he did play in, the Huskies went 3-2 and only allowed eight goals. He had two assists in those five games.

“I really believe that these are players that we cannot do without,” Stutzer said of Towry and Christman. “That’s really what it came down to for me. They are both going to be extremely difficult to replace.”

He mentioned Towry’s tenacity in the face of adversity.

“Evan has really made a big difference on this team. I think there were only two games that he did not start in his entire high school career,” the coach said. “When he’s not on the field, those two games were ugly. Like, bad. Having him there makes all the difference in the world.”

Of Christman, Stutzer said “It was a real blow to our team this year to not have him for our entire league play. We went from being a team that was 3-1 with him on the field, to a team that had zero wins with him not on the field.”

He noted that “North Marion handled us pretty readily the first time that we saw them, but we were very competitive against North Marion in the last game of the season. And I really felt that Chris was a big contributor to that.”

Along with Towry, junior forward Colton Savri was given Honorable Mention honors in the OWC. He finished the season with five goals and four assists.

The program’s Mr. Husky Award went to senior midfielder Cooper McKinnon.

Stutzer said the Mr. Husky Award goes to the person who “most typifies what it means to be a Husky at Sweet Home High School.”

He said McKinnon goes “above and beyond” and is the “first to practice and the last to leave.”

“He is always on top of things with community service and is asking the coach how he can improve himself, and is very involved in the school portion of things,” Stutzer said. “He has given 100% since his freshman year. He has done everything that I have ever asked him to do. I’ve never had a problem with him. He’s always looking to improve himself, and I think that as far as being a Husky goes, he really typifies what that means.”

Recipients of the Coaches Award were freshman midfielder Cannon Klumph and sophomore defender Jack Simmons.

“Every practice Cannon comes to me and asks, ‘coach, what can I do better?,'” Stutzer said. “And then, as if that wasn’t good enough, he’s always asking, ‘How can I help with the community?'”

Of Simmons, Stutzer said “He has some really amazing ideas for bettering soccer in Sweet Home.” He said Simmons is planning to help start an initiative to get soccer into the grade schools, to begin to develop talent at a much younger age.

“He’s already come up with a flyer, and has a whole plan in place,” Stutzer said.

The Outstanding Citizen Award went to junior midfielder Max Klumph. “There are times where it’s hard to get him involved in anything else because he’s involved in so many things at all times,” Stutzer said of Klumph. “I’ve really appreciated his efforts not only in the school, but also in the community. There’s a long list of clubs that he’s done, and his community service hours are always over and above.”

The Slow Feet, Don’t Eat! Award was given to sophomore defender Tison Monahan and freshman midfielder Landon Savri.

Explaining the history of the award in the program, Stutzer said that former Huskies “used to look for the person who was most contributing by way of communication and the best contributor by way of hustle. It’s something that the team has decided to give as an ongoing process to people that really go above and beyond in the area of hustle, communication and determination on the field. I think that both of these guys represent that extremely well.”

Sophomore midfielder Conner Stevens was chosen as Most Improved. “Especially in the last game, he was able to do some things defensively that we had not seen all season,” Stutzer said of Stevens. “That was because of hard work and determination.”

In addition to his Coaches Award, Cannon Klumph was given the Golden Tooth Award for “sacrificing a tooth in the line of duty,” Stutzer said.

In the classroom, the Huskies finished first in all of 4A in the Academic All-State rankings for boys soccer, with a 3.83 team GPA.

The Huskies’ fourth-year letter recipients were Christman, Mason Lopez, and Towry.

Third-year letter recipients were Max Klumph, McKinnon, Colton Savri, and Benjamin Tolman.

Second-year letter recipients were Gavin Gardner, Monahan, Boden Sayer, and Jack Simmons.

First-year letter recipients were Cannon Klumph, Landon Savri, Elisha Scofield, and Stevens.

Players have to be involved in four league games during the season and have at least 10 minutes of play in each of those games to letter. Players must also do community service to receive a letter.

“I think that that sets us apart as a program, that we don’t just give out letters for athletic ability, but that there’s a part of it that has to do with being involved in your community, just like the old school lettermen had to do in the 1950s,” Stutzer said. “Being able to contribute to the community and give back is really important, and I know it’s paid big dividends over the course of the years in the soccer program.”

Speaking on the state of the program as a whole, Stutzer said “It’s been very difficult over the course of the years to build the soccer community in Sweet Home, but one thing that I see that is beginning to happen is that we’re starting to get a soccer community. We had more fields in soccer use this fall than even football.”

Looking toward the future, he said “I would encourage us to continue to get the soccer community ready and visible in the community of Sweet Home, because that’s going to make a huge difference down the road.”

The Huskies finished 3-11 for the year, and were unable to get a win in the tough Oregon West Conference, which featured three teams in the top 10 in the state and two squads in the top 15. Sweet Home finished last in the conference out of six teams.