Hemmert, Comets far exceed preseason expectations

J. Patrick Eaken

Genoa soccer players Aiden Hemmert, Ethan Wilson, Griffin Meyer and Evan Hoeft have been around the game for a long time.

“Three of the seniors had older brothers when I first got here,” Genoa coach Tim Memmer said. “So, I’ve seen these guys since they were little kids. They were ball boys, and Aiden was doing that, too, and it’s just amazing to watch these guys grow up to what they are doing. It was a very special group of attacking players that you obviously don’t see very often.”

Seniors Hemmert, Wilson and Hoeft, and Meyer, a junior, led the Comets to an undefeated regular season and 19-1 overall record, falling to state perennial powerhouse Ottawa Hills 5-0 in a Division III district final.

You could say the Northern Buckeye Conference champion Comets went beyond expectations.

“One of the questions you are asked is ‘What did you expect from this season?’ Well, not what we did,” Memmer said. 

“We go in with the mentality that you are prepared to win every game that you play. That doesn’t usually happen, and that we were going to go out and score 150 goals this year? You do not go in with that mentality. It was just amazing as it was happening.”

For the third year in a row, Memmer is Alan Miller Jewelers All-Press Coach of the Year and for the second straight year Hemmert is Player of the Year.

Hemmert accumulated 130 points on 48 goals and 34 assists, breaking school records set by Cory Hornyak in 2005 for points (112) and goals (45). A first team All-Ohio selection and NBC POY, he is No. 7 all-time in the state for assists in a season and No. 17 for career assists (72). However, he is not choosing to play college soccer.

“He absolutely could. It’s not the fact that he doesn’t want to play college soccer — he wants to go into engineering (University of Toledo). It’s one of those where he’s making an adult decision,” said Memmer, who applauds Hemmert’s choice, noting that he can always find opportunities to play soccer.

The 6-foot-4 Hemmert, who was also the place kicker for Genoa’s football team and is playing basketball this winter, could take over a soccer game when he wanted to. 

“Even with what is there, there is so much potential out there that I’m not sure he’s reached it yet. That’s the scary part,” Memmer said.

“You see glimpses of it here and there, but my goodness, he’s so hard to stop. His ability to change pace, and I don’t mean going slow to going fast, but it’s just jumping into the right place at the right time and being able to see that without knowing. It’s that instinctual play. There is a physical athlete and there is the mental athlete, too, and he has that going also.”

His attacking associates also put up numbers that would typically be team highs. Wilson finished with 88 points on 33 goals and 22 assists, Meyer had 27 goals and 25 assists, and Hoeft contributed 16 goals and 20 assists. 

As a team this year, Genoa outscored opponents 143-19 with a school record 12 shutouts, thanks to 39 saves by first team All-Press sophomore goalkeeper.

Genoa reached double digit goals scored six times, but it could easily have been more.

“Most of the games we backed off. Sometimes it was in the first half we backed off, just trying to extend, working on how to get creative and keep them on the field long enough to stay in game shape all the time when you do have to go a full game. We spent a lot of times in the game with just one of them (top scorers) on the field.”

In all, Genoa has eight first team All-Press selections, including two midfielders and two defensive players. Oak Harbor, which finished 11-6-1, is next with four, including senior midfielder Josh Collins (18 goals, 10 assists) and senior attacker Noah Mylander (11 goals, three assists).


Nemesis Green Bears

Genoa’s only loss was to Ottawa Hills, who also beat the Comets 6-0 the prior year in the district tournament. The Green Bears, 15-3-3, ranked fourth in the state and scheduling mostly Division I teams, went on to reach the state semifinals.

Ottawa Hills has made six trips to the state final four, winning a state title in 2008 and they were state runners-up in 2017. Memmer thought his team had a shot, despite ultimately losing by five goals.

“We absolutely played them better. We started out the game very well, very much on the front foot. We had them backed up, we were pressing, we had a couple good scoring opportunities, and the first time they get the ball, they go down the field and they score. For the first five minutes we were all over them, and they get one down and they score. That’s how it goes,” Memmer said.

“We attacked, and we had a beautiful set up play and a couple connected passes and Aiden put a nice ball across and Ethan got on the end of that cross, and it would have been an absolutely beautiful goal, but it missed by just a little.”

Memmer thinks some of it may have to do with the difference in the schedule as the Green Bears are playing the top Three Rivers Athletic Conference and Northern Lakes League teams, while the Comets are used to winning over smaller schools by double digit margins.

“I think the biggest difference when you go in to play them, the way it turned out, we still did what we needed to do, it’s just that we had to do it at such a higher pace than what we were used to. We weren’t as accurate with our shots,” Memmer said.

Now Memmer will have to do without three of his top scorers next year.

“Griffin is back, but we’ll change a little bit,” Memmer said. “I get asked this a lot over the years, ‘Oh, my goodness, you have this good group. How are you going to continue?’ This is my 25th season, so I’ve done this, so you use what you have as players, you find what their strengths are and you go with what their strengths are.”



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