Connor Halmi of McIntosh is the All-County Boys Soccer Player of the Year. (Staff Photo by Christopher Dunn)

Boys soccer season is now complete with the naming of the 2015 All-County team.
Though no state champion was crowned this year in Fayette, there was much success, as always. McIntosh and Starr’s Mill both advanced in the state tourney in AAAAA, as did Our Lady of Mercy in A. Whitewater and Fayette County both qualified in AAAA.
Among a glut of good options, Connor Halmi of McIntosh is the Player of the Year. Halmi, a midfielder for the Chiefs, led his team in goals (18) and assists (11). In fact, he averaged a goal a game for the campaign. For his work, he was also voted as his region’s player of the year.
“Connor made a commitment this year to work hard, get fit, and be the best player he could be,” said his coach, Bunky Colvin. “His desire was to be a leader and to lead us as far as we could go together. When he was at his best, our team was special. The mark of a great player is one who, through his performance, raises the level of those around him. Connor raised our team’s level to a county and region championship season.”
Next is an award that isn’t given out every season. You have to find a player truly deserving in their first year on the pitch. Devin Dickinson of Whitewater is the Freshman of the Year. Dickinson was a sensation on the attack for the Wildcats, baffling the opposition all year with his quickness, racking up nine goals and four assists.
One leader earns top honors for returning his team to prominence. John Bernard of Whitewater is Coach of the Year. After a few down seasons, Bernard has stepped in and put the Wildcats back on the path to a title. After missing the playoffs last year, Bernard’s squad spent most of this season ranked in the top ten en route to a quarterfinals appearance. With a team that will return largely intact, Whitewater could be setting up for a special run next time around.
The All-County First Team is an awesome collection of talent.
The forwards are Dylan Keysar of McIntosh, Armon Varmeziar of Starr’s Mill, and Devin Dickinson. Keysar was the second on the Chiefs in scoring with 17 goals and also added six assists. Vermeziar, a senior, tied for Starr’s Mill’s goal lead with 13 and added three assists.
The midfield is always the toughest choice because of such an overwhelming abundance of skill. Halmi is joined by Zach Birkhead of Whitewater and Brandon Oot of Starr’s Mill. Birkhead, a junior, was the focus of the Wildcat attack, tallying seven goals and eight assists. Oot, a senior, tied for the Panther lead with 13 goals and led with 10 assists.
The defense consists of Matthew Melatti of Whitewater, Jack VanNimwegen of Starr’s Mill, and McIntosh’s Aaron Brewer and Daichi Uki. Melatti, a senior, led a defense that only surrendered 12 goals all year, while posting a school-record 11 shutouts. VanNimwegen, a junior, tallied three goals and two assists, while also playing smothering defense for the Panthers. Brewer and Uki both earned All-State honors for their tremendous play on the back end for the Chiefs.
The keeper is Mitch Pattison of Starr’s Mill. Pattison, a senior, posted a stellar .84 goals against average this season for the Panthers.
The All-County Second Team is also loaded with skill.
The forwards are Arnol Spaniol of Sandy Creek, Minh Bui of Our Lady of Mercy, and Diego Milessi of Fayette County. Bui, a senior, led the Bobcats in scoring with 14 goals. Milessi, a junior, tallied six goals and five assists for the Tigers.
The midfielders are Sean Gravley of McIntosh and Whitewater’s Hagen Clements, Kyle Robbins, and Margarito Cruz. Gravley was a fierce force in the heart of the Chief offense. Clements, a sophomore, scored seven goals, six coming off his specialty, the direct kick. Robbins, a sophomore, led Whitewater in scoring with 10 goals. Cruz, a junior, was the field general for the Cats.
The defense consists of Chris Avery of Sandy Creek, Carlos Naranjo of Fayette County, and McIntosh’s Christian Slepicka and Brandon Bernard. Naranjo, a senior, headed up the Tiger defense as they suffocated teams en route to a playoff trip. Slepicka tallied nine goals and four assists, while Bernard added two goals and six assists.
The keeper is Matt Sherry of Fayette County. Sherry, a junior, tallied 113 saves and five shutouts for the Tigers.
There are still so many local players deserving of recognition, leaving an impressive batch of honorable mentions. Fayette County’s honorees are Kirkland Johnson and Jeremy Lewis. Whitewater’s honoree is Nick Gallardo. Our Lady of Mercy’s honoree is Gabriel Ryce. Starr’s Mill’s honoree is Anthony Hoelle. McIntosh’s honorees are Matthew Craig, Clay Jackson, Luke Mohney, Brandon Watkins, Jacob Stevens, Chandler Birrell, and Noah Slepicka.