Wauwatosa West boys soccer coach Mike Parulski easily remembers when he knew he had something special in senior star Sam Krenzien.
It was Krenzien's sophomore year, when the Woodland Conference champion Trojans went to the state tournament. The moment came in the sectional final against Menomonee Falls of the tough Greater Metro Conference.
"The one I'll never forget was the second half of that game," Parulski said. "We were up, 1-0, at halftime. Nico Zabala gets a ball played to him, he dribbles past three guys and just hits this rocket serve.
"Out of nowhere comes Sam Krenzien and he just heads the ball down to the far right corner of the net. That's a play I will never forget him doing. That play defines him; at the highest stage to put us in the state tournament."
The honors have come Krenzien's way since that season. He was second-team all-conference as a sophomore and moved up to first-team honors last year. He also earned honorable mention honors on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel all-area team and honorable mention all-state from the Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association as a junior.
"His performance matters day in and day out with him - the pride that he has in playing here," Parulski said. "Each year he has dramatically improved and has made himself one of the elite players in the state and area."
None of this has come without effort, however.
"I've always tried to do my best and work hard," Krenzien said. "This year I wanted to do well. I wanted to make it special. I found some things came naturally this year. I take pride in my ability to win head balls in the physical battle."
David Boardman, the Trojans' other co-captain, has seen Krenzien up close the last three years.
"He is one of the most skilled people in the state," Boardman said. "He's a big, physical guy too. So when you put those two together, he can dominate the center of the field. If I could have anyone on my team to go and win state with, it would be him."
Tosa West's opponents know that Krenzien is one of the Trojans they must prepare for if they have a chance of winning. But it is a lot easier to prepare for than it is to execute.
Does it all
"We let them scheme and then find spots on the field to exploit them," Parulski said. "You don't know where he is going to be on the field because I give him such leeway to go find the ball. I think the biggest thing with him that's hard to prepare for is his game is pretty diverse.
"He can beat people one on one. He can hit a 60-yard switch on a dime. He can be dominate in the air," the coach added. "Sometimes we have what we call a dummy run off the ball, where we go where it would be impossible to give him the ball and a defender will still follow him across the field.
"But the thing I notice the most is the physical abuse he takes night in and night out."
As a senior co-captain on a young team, Krenzien has embraced his leadership role.
"His leadership has been tremendous as far as getting guys to do stuff in the off-season," Parulski said. "He's got that kind of soccer junkie mentality. "Just to see how hard he pushes himself day in and day out, it's been great for some of our younger kids," Parulski said. "The kids genuinely like him, like they like David. That has been a huge bonus, setting the tone and having the other kids following it."
BY THE NUMBERS
With Sam Krenzien
Games out of 17 this year where he has a goal or an assist
LAST TWO GAMES
Tosa West 6, Brown Deer 0
at Whitman Field
The Trojans scored three goals in each half and blew the Falcons away. Ben Zaeske scored twice and added an assist, Sam Krenzien scored once and added an assist and Nico Zabala had two assists to lead the attack. Evan Carlyn, Alex Chu and Joe Zembles had the other scores.
Tosa West 2, Shorewood 1 Double Overtime
Sam Krenzien scored 93:40 into overtime on a pass from Nico Zabala for the win. Zabala tied the game at 71:12 to send the game into overtime as Tosa West improved to 8-2 in Woodland Conference play and 11-5-1 overall.
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