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A family affair: Schotzko hoping to leave Lourdes with bragging rights over brothers

The youngest of three brothers, McKaid Schotzko has followed in the footsteps of older brothers Gavan and Kilian by becoming a captain for the Lourdes boys soccer program. Now, he's hoping to do something his older brothers couldn't do, reach the state tournament multiple times.

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Lourdes’ McKaid Schotzko (3) stops the ball during a Section 1A boys soccer championship match against Dover-Eyota Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021, at Rochester Community and Technical College in Rochester.
Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin file photo
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ROCHESTER — The first memory Sean Kane has of McKaid Schotzko dates back more than eight years ago.

Schotzko was a third grader, running around with his older brothers, Gavan and Kilian, at the annual Lourdes soccer camp. Kane, the second-year Lourdes boys soccer coach, remembers McKaid holding his own while going up against high schoolers.

Playing against older kids was often the case for McKaid growing up as he was determined to one day follow in the footsteps of his elder siblings. It’s a path he didn’t stray from, joining his brothers as a multiple years starter and a team captain for Lourdes.

“My brothers, they were good players here,” Schotzko said. “I'm happy to be the last. I mean, it's sad for me, but I'm happy to keep that going. Gavan and Kilian are great players and I’m just happy that I’m the one that gets the chance to end it here.”

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Lourdes’ McKaid Schotzko celebrates after winning the Section 1A boys soccer championship match against Dover-Eyota on Tuesday at Rochester Regional Stadium. Traci Westcott / Post Bulletin
Traci Westcott

McKaid, though, is looking to take it a step further.

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He wants another trip to Minneapolis.

Before Lourdes made its run to the Class A state semis a season ago, the only Schotzko to play in a state tournament was Gavan, as a sophomore in 2015.

For McKaid, that’s what made last year that much more special. Now, the goal is to get a leg up on his brothers by becoming the only one to reach multiple state tournaments.

“We are super competitive,” Schotzko said with a laugh. “So, I would definitely have some bragging rights.”

Not only did Lourdes make its first trip to state since the eldest Schotzko helped it get there, but the way the Eagles did it — overcoming injuries left and right, forcing underclassmen to step up and deliver — gives plenty of momentum heading into this season.

“We're really, really hungry,” Schotzko said. “A lot of those teams now are looking at us, like, we're the ones that are dangerous. We want that. We're going to come back hard.”

That was made evident by this summer's captains practices, where conditioning was put to the forefront. Kane has seen that translate to the first couple weeks of practice in a way that brings a buzz as the season approaches.

“The boys are taking (the expectations) very seriously,” Kane said. “Our practices have been really competitive, which I appreciate and the boys know that in order to get better, they’re going to have to push each other. It’s one thing to have a really talented team, it’s another to have a group of kids that want to get better and want to push each other.

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“When they put their cleats on, they're ready to go. It really is kind of invigorating as a coach, because they're going to give you everything they have every day, which is pretty rare with high school kids.”

Brandt Konik helped the PIZM Wildcats reach the program's first state tournament and is one of many returning all-state players in the area.

Yet, both Schotzko and Kane know success is anything but a given.

Lourdes will have to replace standout midfielders Trent Neff and Jonah Morris, both in the middle of the field where the two were all-conference players and off it, where they were vital in helping hold last season’s squad together.

Schotzko admitted that is the focal point for him this season. He wants to be the guy who is in the middle of everything, on and off the field. So far, he’s done just that.

“He's really matured and really wanted to take on that responsibility of being the leader,” Kane said. "In practice, he doesn't want to come out of any drills, he didn't want to come out during any scrimmages. He wants to be that guy. He’s definitely ready to take that next step.”

That next step involves a position change.

Last year, Schotzko became the first defender in program history to lead the team in goals in a season, with nine, en route to being named second team all-state. There was nobody more lethal on corner and free kicks, while also being the quarterback of that Eagles back line.

Yet, with Neff and Morris now gone, it’s Schotzko who will be called upon to control the middle and dictate the offensive pace a little more by switching from center back to center mid. It’s an adjustment not just for him, but for the whole group that is still searching for its offensive identity a bit — something that showed in an early season scrimmage against Mayo.

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But that’s expected for the first few weeks of the season.

When it clicks, it clicks, as last season’s team can attest to after entering the postseason with a 6-8-2 record, before winning four consecutive matches to reach the state semifinals. And with the likes of Schotzko, Joey Lonzo, Tziyon Morris, Cole Smith and Peyton Loeslie, it’s only a matter of time.

“We have a lot of core players,” Schotzko said. “We lost a lot of talent, but now those guys have moved out. It’s our time to get back to where we were last year.”

Rochester Mayo and Rochester Lourdes appear to be boys soccer section title contenders, while Century looks to rebuild after the graduation of a big, talented class. John Marshall and Schaeffer Academy are both eager to continue to build in the right direction.

Alex VandenHouten has been a sports reporter at the Post Bulletin since Sept. 2021. He loves to go hiking, biking, snowshoeing and just simply being outdoors with his wife Olivia. Readers can reach Alex at avandenhouten@postbulletin.com.
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