LEXINGTON, Ky. – Paul Laurence Dunbar High School was presented with the Army National Guard national ranking trophy at a school assembly on Friday. The honor is part of the second annual MaxPreps Tour of Champions for Boys’ Soccer presented by the Army National Guard and Paul Laurence Dunbar is one of just 10 schools being honored.
The Bulldogs finished ranked No. 13 in the country by MaxPreps, a California-based company that ranks more than 14,000 high school boys’ soccer teams.
"Working with the Army National Guard, MaxPreps is delighted to honor Coach Bretz and the Paul Laurence Dunbar Bulldogs as one of nation’s elite high school boys’ soccer teams,” said President and Founder, Andy Beal. “We congratulate the coach, players and Paul Laurence Dunbar High School for a great season and earning the Army National Guard national ranking trophy.”
Paul Laurence Dunbar High School beat Trinity 2-1 in the KHSAA championship game to win their fourth state title (1992, 2001, 2005). They finished the 2013 season with a record of 26-1-2.
“It is a huge honor to be named to the MaxPreps Tour of Champions. For this team to be recognized at a national level is something you dream about,” said Paul Laurence Dunbar head coach Todd Bretz. “To have had the kind of season we have had and to receive this recognition is incredible.”
After losing 1-0 to St. Xavier last year in the championship game, the Paul Laurence Dunbar Bulldogs were determined to do everything they could to succeed and take the 2013 state title. In this year’s championship game against Trinity, the Bulldogs tied 1-1 with 3:31 left in the game and ended up winning in the fifth round of penalty kicks.
Coach Bretz credited the team’s regional final game against Henry Clay as their most pivotal match. Only a month earlier, Paul Laurence Dunbar played Henry Clay in the regular season with the game ending in a 1-1 tie. In their regional final match, the Bulldogs shut out the team 4-0 and gave the players added confidence going into the state tournament.
The Bulldogs were led by senior forward Nathan Jones, senior midfielder Riley Calhoon, senior defender Caleb Clay, sophomore forward Erik Clemente and senior goalies Nicholas Clark and Josiah Farley. Clemente, who was named 2nd Team All-State, led the team with 28 goals. Jones, who was named NSCAA All-American and 1st Team All-State, scored 17 goals this year. Calhoun was also named 1st Team All-State and had 18 goals this season. Clay was named Honorable Mention All-State. Nicholas Clark and Josiah Farley, who split time in the net, helped the team post 14 shutouts.
Staff Sergeant Adam Alstatt of the Kentucky Army National Guard presented Coach Bretz and the Bulldogs with the Army National Guard national ranking trophy during a school assembly on Friday.
"For over 375 years, the men and women of the National Guard have come to the aid of their neighbors during times of need. As Citizen-Soldiers who serve part-time, we live and serve in more than 3,500 communities throughout the country,” said Major Mark Burns of the Army National Guard. “It is our privilege to honor and recognize nationally ranked boys’ soccer teams with Army National Guard national ranking trophy which includes the Minuteman statue, a symbol of the National Guard.”
MaxPreps uses an intricate computer program to determine team rank – known as the “MaxPreps Freeman Rankings.” Prior season history, school size, and comments on message boards are not considered in the MaxPreps rankings. The computer-based system utilizes the huge number of game results stored in the MaxPreps database. Generally, the more a team wins the higher the ranking, but the system also takes into account quality wins (against other highly ranked opponents) and strength of schedule. For example, a team's ranking is hurt more by losing to a team that is ranked below them than to a team ranked ahead. Boys’ soccer rankings are updated once a week.