Soccer Wolf Wins MVP, Seven Make All-State

St. Paul’s #15 Ben Schwing and Dutchtown’s #10 Zayne Zezulka were given the Defensive and Offensive MVP titles for the 2019-2020 season. (Photo Credit-)

(COVINGTON, La.) — The Louisiana High School Soccer Coaches Association announced senior Benjamin Schwing as the Defensive Most Valuable Player for the 2019-2020 season. Alongside Schwing, senior Michael Dufour, senior James Bradford, senior Jimmy Till, senior Raleigh Martin, junior CJ Paretti, and senior Zach Perkins form the seven Wolves to earn All-State recognition.

Many were left scratching their heads as Dutchtown’s striker phenom, Zayne Zezulka, finished as the Offensive MVP, but Schwing, who had not featured in a defensive position all season, was named the Defensive MVP. The St. Paul’s player had racked up 20 goals and 19 assists across all competitions, making him not only the tied top scorer for his state champion side but also the top assister for the State Champion Wolves.

For any attacker to top his team in assists and goals in a single season is an incredible feat on its own, but this was not achieved by a striker or an attack minded winger. Schwing played as part of a midfield duo (trio at times) behind the likes of two-time finals MVP Dufour and Bradford, who (like Dufour) tied with Schwing on goals and finished with 14 assists.

“At first I was surprised,” said Schwing, “especially since I had such an attacking impact on our team, but it kind of made sense to me because of the defensive role I did have to play to control the midfield and hold the shape of the team alongside my partner Jimmy Till.”

Having recently committed to play soccer for Christian Brothers University (Memphis) in Division II, Ben continues the well established “Schwing legacy” that has formed over recent years. His eldest brother Eric was part of the fabled 2011 St. Paul’s team that snapped Jesuit’s 94-game winning streak, earned state championships and all-state honors, and played on the collegiate level for Spring Hill. Ben’s sister, Mary Lynn Schwing, won two state championships in her time as a St. Scholastica Dove and now plays at University of Louisiana (Lafayette). “I won state [2019] as a center back and I’m going to college as a left back for Christian Brothers. I’m honored to receive this award. Even though I played midfield this season, I’m honored to be recognized for my defensive work,” said Schwing.

St. Paul’s seven all-state players total to be the highest of any team this season with the closest school only holding two spots. The all-state honors come alongside the awards for the all-district team, which included Schwing as the overall MVP and Dufour as the offensive MVP. The all-district team highlighted not only the seniors from the undefeated state champions, but recognized the juniors who will take the helm next year. Junior attackers Ashton Mouton and Caleb Nicotri were placed in the second team all-district, and goalkeeper Hunter Kergosien and left back CJ Paretti (named second team all-state) were given honorable mentions. All four of these juniors had outstanding seasons which included a goal, an assist, and a clean sheet between them in the state championship game.

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