BELLINGHAM, WA— The Evergreen Premier League (EPLWA) announces that two players from WPSS Shock that led their team to a win over previously unbeaten Seattle are the Players of the Week for May 7, 2017.
OFFENSE – MICAH WENZEL (WPSS)
Micah Wenzel has played for the Shock all four seasons they’ve competed in the EPLWA. On Sunday against Seattle Stars at Washington Premier Fields Complex the University of Puget Sound Loggers grad was at the center of a late first-half burst that pushed his team to victory.
The Shock were trailing unbeaten Seattle 1-0 in the 37th minute when they were awarded a penalty kick that could tie the match. It was midfielder / defender Wenzel who stepped up to the spot.
“I took the penalty because I’m comfortable taking PK’s and have pretty much been the first choice penalty taker since the EPLWA started — just because I insisted on taking the first penalty we drew and haven’t missed since,” Micah says. “I’ve let other guys take them if they’re feeling up to it but otherwise I’m always comfortable from the spot. I took a couple in preseason including one against Evan Munn last weekend in our alum match so I felt confident taking our first chance this weekend.”
Just a few minutes later Wenzel came through again. He scored a back-breaking third Shock goal late in the half to put WPSS up 3-1. “On my second goal it started from a corner kick on the right side… it got cut out by the first defender on the six who cleared just outside the box. It fell to Isidro (Prado-Huerta) on the corner of the 18. I know Isidro has great service from that area so I staged my run and looked for some space between two defenders at the near post… Isidro saw the space and my run and dropped the ball perfectly behind those two defenders onto my head. I snuck in front of the goalkeeper’s punch and headed in to the near post.”
This is Wenzel’s first Player of the Week honor. His teammate JJ Schmeck’s performance is also of note. Schmeck was a contender with his two assists and goal and generally creating havoc in the Seattle defense. In the end it was Wenzel who’s brace broke the match open in the Shock’s favor.
DEFENSE – CODY CROOK (WPSS)
Cody Crook (Kentwood High School, Tacoma CC) and the Shock defense had the task of holding the Stars offense in check on Sunday. That meant guarding all-time EPLWA leading scorer Tyler Bjork (who already has 2 goals this season) along with Brandon Gonzalez and Alex Castillo. The Shock were caught by Bjork (assist) and Carlos Betancourt (goal) in the first half. That was when Crook and the rest of the WPSS defense decided enough was enough.
Crook says the key was keeping the offensive players uncomfortable. “We started putting ourselves in front of the ball, winning the first and second balls, not letting them get comfortable and starting to play their game.”
From there it was a matter of communication. “We improved our communication, started playing smart…knowing when to go into tackles and when not to, talking to our midfield in front of us.”
The Shock offense took the lead and it was up to the defense to make it stick.
“Cody really showed his strengths on Sunday,” says Shock head coach Adam Becker. “He had a lot to do and he was there for us when we needed it.”
About the Players of the Week honors
The Evergreen Premier League will be selecting an offensive and defensive Player of the Week each week during the 2017 season. The Players of the Week will be acknowledged with a pair of custom, unique socks featuring the EPLWA logo. The socks are from Rock’Em Apparel, the Official Provider of the weekly reward. The league worked with Rock’Em Apparel to finalize the look of the socks. The league logo is complemented by a rendering of George Washington in the State seal.
The phrase “Rock ‘Em” represents the willingness to achieve greatness; to go above and beyond limits,” says www.RockEmApparel.com.
Evergreen Premier League players will work to do just that for their clubs this season. The best of the best will have cool custom socks to show off around town for their efforts.