Over the last two seasons, forward Zach Weinman has served as the Marquette Catholic Explorers’ spark plug on offense.
Weinman, a senior, scored 21 goals and finished with 16 assists in the 2016 campaign. His accomplishments have earned him the honor of being the AdVantage News Boys’ Soccer Player of the Year. It’s the second year in a row for him, after sharing the honor with Alton’s Eric Ferenbach in 2015.
The forward scored 44 goals in his last two seasons with Catholic, as he netted 23 goals during his junior season.
“Each game you have to try your best and put as much as you can out for the team,” Weinman said. “You have to help your team win.”
Of course, the hot-scoring forward benefitted from solid teammates.
“Every time I got the ball, they were heads up going forward,” he said. “Every time they got the ball, they were heads up going forward. The best I can do is make a run and it’s all on them to play good balls. It’s my job to finish. I think they did a real good job. Chris Hartrich, Noah Fahnestock and Brendan Nickloy, they did a good job of getting the ball forward.”
He also kept leadership in mind during his two final seasons.
“I was trying to set a good example for all of the younger kids on the team,” Weinman said. “We have a lot of younger kids on the team. We have some good players — freshmen that started and sophomores that started their freshman year. I just wanted to set a good example for them so they can have success in their future as well.”
The Explorers finished the year with a 12-7-2 record.
“We started off really well, we won a big game against Collinsville and we fed off of that energy going into the tournament (Effingham St. Anthony) we played in,” Weinman said. “We won three games there and played Gibault and I think we played well against them. During the CYC Tournament, we played some good teams and that brought our confidence down a little. But we gained it back with a tie against Edwardsville — it was good; it gave us a lot of confidence. Winning against Belleville West was nice, too.”
Marquette, with an enrollment of 429, competes in the small-school Prairie State Conference. However, there is no conference championship in boys’ soccer in the PSC. Collinsville, Edwardsville and Belleville West all compete in the large-school Southwestern Conference, so those were great results for the Explorers.
“Playing against those big schools, we had that underdog feeling,” he said. “We really just wanted to play our best out there and see what we can do against the big schools and getting those wins and a tie against Edwardsville would push us forward a lot, especially going into playoffs in knowing what we can do against bigger schools.”
Weinman’s season-long scoring spree included a valiant display on Senior Night. He finished with a hat trick, four goals, in Marquette’s 5-0 victory over East Alton-Wood River on Oct. 5.
“Really, it was just an exciting night,” he said. “The seniors had been waiting years for this, to have a good night and end our career at Marquette on a high level.”
The forward started playing varsity as a freshman.
“You’re a little nervous at first,” Weinman said. “But once you settle down, you start having a great time and watching every move of the other kids.”
He scored one goal his freshman year and 13 in his sophomore season. Not a one-sport athlete, the senior has played three years of varsity baseball.
“I think it helps me as an athlete to not focus on one sport,” Weinman said. “I think soccer keeps me in shape for baseball and baseball makes me a little stronger for soccer.”
Weinman is undecided on playing soccer next year but said he would continue if given the right opportunity.
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