Two Ravenscroft soccer alumni, Johnny McNeill '16 and Thompson Schollaert '18, were recently recognized with conference Player of the Week honors following their outstanding contributions in Sewanee's dual wins in Texas.
The Sept. 16 announcement from the Southern Athletic Association named McNeill as Defensive Player of the Week and Schollaert as Offensive Player of the Week.
McNeill, a senior, said the 12-hour road trip from Tennessee to Texas to take on East Texas Baptist University and LeTourneau University was "pretty brutal," so it was "amazing" to come away with the back-to-back wins, both 3-0. A strong defensive effort held the opposition to five shots on goal.
Schollaert, a sophomore, finished with one goal and three assists. "It felt good," he said of the wins.
As Ravenscroft's varsity boys soccer coach Alix Charles noted, McNeill and Schollaert are building on the work ethic, skills and leadership they displayed as Ravens.
"It is not surprising that Johnny and Thompson are doing so well in college. Both boys had stellar careers at Ravenscroft," he said. "As seniors, Johnny scored 11 goals and had three assists and Thompson had 13 goals and three assists. Both were team captains, and both were recipients of All-Conference, All-Region and All-State awards. Also, both were selected as Most Valuable Player in their last year at Ravenscroft."
That the two are now teammates at Sewanee was no accident.
"I put a lot of effort into making that happen," McNeill said. "Thompson stayed with me during his recruiting overnight, and I tried to be there to answer any questions he had. On the field he adds so much to our attack. For me as a defender, it's really nice to have someone orchestrating and making things happen on that side of the field while I'm keeping things in order on my side."
"It's awesome to be playing with Johnny," Schollaert said. "Especially in my freshman year, it was great to have someone I know to play with — and also for academics and college life in general. We're both competitive about a lot of things, and both of us winning those awards in the same week was really special."
Sewanee is now 6-3-1 — the best start of Coach Tony Pacella's six seasons at the Division III school. In another sign of the program's ascendance, goalie James Murray was named SAA Defensive Player of the Week the week prior to McNeill's and Schollaert's honors.
"The success of the team has helped all of us be willing to take more risks — especially me, on left wing, to be a more impactful player," Schollaert said.
"The program is getting recognition from the conference," McNeill added. "We're all proud to have contributed to that."
"I would like to congratulate both boys for their recognition," Charles said. "It has been quite an honor for me to have coached such prolific players, and such wonderful individuals."
Photos, clockwise from top left: McNeill; Schollaert; with their Sewanee teammates.