Ashland's Tamke, Hermantown's Hoff are prep soccer players of the year
Logan Tamke is no stranger to U.S. Hwy 2, using the route frequently while traveling to Duluth for soccer commitments. After making the journey yet again last week, the Ashland High School senior was asked how long it typically takes him. About a...
Logan Tamke is no stranger to U.S. Hwy 2, using the route frequently while traveling to Duluth for soccer commitments.
After making the journey yet again last week, the Ashland High School senior was asked how long it typically takes him. About an hour and 20 minutes was the answer.
"I drive pretty fast," Tamke said sheepishly.
He scores goals with similar urgency, which is why Tamke was in Duluth in the first place. He and Hermantown's Hailey Hoff are repeat winners of the News Tribune's All-Area prep soccer player of the year awards.
They were invited to town for a brief photo shoot. The resulting image of the high-scoring duo, taken between youth games at the DECC's Pioneer Hall, shows a pair of players who combined for a dizzying 66 goals this fall.
Tamke had 42, Hoff 24.
Gaudy numbers, and good luck getting either to talk about them. Tamke and Hoff are much more interested in discussing win tallies than goal tallies. Tamke's Oredockers sprinted to 27 victories and a state championship this season, while Hoff and the Hawks reeled off 14 victories and narrowly missed the state tournament.
Their coaches used the same word to describe both players.
"He is pretty selfless, and I think that showed in his play," Ashland coach Anne Whiting said.
"She's a selfless kid," Hermantown's Scott Larson said. "She could have cared less who scored all those goals that she scored just as long as the team was winning."
The similarities don't end there.
Both Tamke and Hoff hold offensive records for their respective programs. Tamke surpassed previous goal-scoring standard-setter Jonny BeBeau, an assistant coach with the Oredockers, by finishing with 108 for his career, while Hoff's 36 points (22 goals, 14 assists) a year ago were a single-season mark for the Hawks.
And both combine natural talent with unwavering work ethics that turned good players into great players. Hoff scored five goals as a sophomore in her first year as a varsity starter, but the self-professed soccer nut honed her game via various offseason leagues, including Gitchi Gummi in the summer. It has been a similar story for Tamke, who has made a habit of 7 a.m. summer workouts.
"She has a natural gift," Larson said before highlighting all the time Hoff devotes to the sport. "But she made sure she was going to get everything out of the talent she has."
Hoff, who moved to the Northland from Denver when she was in fifth grade, is set to continue her soccer career at Minnesota Duluth, where she will team with friend and former foe, Duluth Denfeld's Emily Fleissner, on a squad that just completed the most successful season in program history. Tamke, meanwhile, is eyeing Wisconsin-Parkside, BeBeau's alma mater.
And while it's a knack for peppering the back of the net that has appealed to college coaches, that's not what Tamke and Hoff will remember most from their brilliant high school careers. It will be all the winning.
"The wins that we had because it's not just me; it's the whole team that works together to make the win happen," Hoff, a two-time All-State selection, said. "That's what I'll remember the most."
Tamke will have no shortage of memories. At the top of the list no doubt will be the feeling of the final seconds ticking away in Ashland's 1-0 victory over Notre Dame in the early November Division 3 state championship game, which capped a 19-game winning streak to end the season. That included the final 11 contests, in which the Oredockers outscored their opponents a combined 72-0.
Many of the players on Ashland's tight-knit team have played together since they were youngsters.
"Definitely winning a state championship with your team," Tamke said when asked what will stick with him the longest from his days as a prep standout. "It's just a lot better feeling to share that with them. I don't like to take credit for scoring all the goals -- it's a team thing."
And there is that aw-shucks, credit-deflecting attitude that both Tamke and Hoff embody. If they don't like to talk about all the scoring -- and what makes them so good at it -- their coaches will do it for them.
"The thing about her is she can see plays developing four, five, six passes before they happen," Larson said of Hoff. "She's a finisher, but she's got that vision where she can direct traffic and get kids into position as the play's developing."
Likewise, Tamke is lethal in the box.
"Logan is a creative player, and I think he's also really worked on finishing when he's in front of the net," Whiting said.