The sting of failing to make it to the Missouri Class 2 Final Four is still there.
But for the Rolla High School boys' soccer trio of seniors Aaron Froehlich, Nate Kramme and Hunter Short, there was some consolation in the form of all-state honors.
Froehlich and Short at forward and Kramme as a defender were selected to the Missouri Class 2 All-State Team, it was recently announced.
The Missouri State High School Soccer Coaches Association selects the all-state teams.
In addition Froehlich, who set the Missouri boys' prep career goal-scoring record this past fall, was named Missouri Class 2 Offensive Player of the Year as well as being selected to the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) All-Midwest Region V Team.
Froehlich becomes only the second Rolla player - and first male - to be named NSCAA All-Region.
The Bulldogs, ranked in the state poll's top-three most of the regular season, finished tied for 10th in the final Class 2 state poll after being upset by Jefferson City Helias in the District 10 Tournament championship game.
RHS finished with a 24-3 overall record.
Froehlich was named to the Class 2 All-State First Team while Kramme was selected to the second-team and Short honorable mention. Froehlich and Kramme are repeat members of the all-state team while Short made it for the first time this fall.
"All three are very deserving," said RHS head coach Mike Howard of his three all-staters. "If we had advanced as far as we would have liked I think we could have had as many as five all-staters. But these three are very deserving."
Froehlich made headlines in the state soccer circles by setting the Missouri high school career goals scored record. He broke his own single-season school mark with 68 goals this past season and finished his RHS career with 182 goals for the new state mark.
He also has RHS records of consecutive games with a goal (24), most points in a career (398) and most points in a season (145 in 2012 and 2013).
"Being named offensive player of the year for the state is quite an honor," Howard said. "He had a lot of goals against a lot of good teams; he definitely deserves to hold that record."
"It's really starting to set in now," Froehlich said of all his accomplishments. "It's pretty cool to be put in the situation I was put in, with the teammates I had. We all had different jobs and mine was to score goals. We had a great high school team for four years."
As good as Froehlich was last season, he was even better this fall, according to Howard.
Page 2 of 3 - "He was more consistent scoring goals throughout the year," Howard said. "He was only shut out twice all year. He's just a pure athlete. He's very courageous with his head; he's so good in the air. He can leap so high."
Froehlich is the second All-Midwest selection in Howard's coaching career.
The first was former Missouri girls' state career goals record holder Anne Felts, who went on to win a NCAA national championship as part of the great North Carolina women's soccer dynasty.
"We had never had a boy named to it; that's a huge honor," Howard said. "They choose three All-Americans from Missouri and Aaron was fifth on the Missouri list, so he was almost All-American as well. That's quite an honor in itself."
"I'm really excited to be (All-Midwest)," Froehlich said. "I've got great teammates; that's why it happened."
With the build of a linebacker to go with plenty of soccer skills, Kramme looked - and played - the part of the perfect defender. He finished with two goals and seven assists and helped key the Bulldogs' 14 shutouts. In addition, he took his role as team leader seriously.
"The thing about Nate that makes him so hard to replace is he's one of the best leaders I've ever had," Howard said. "And he was the most consistent player we had all year.
"He leads by example and on the field he understands the defensive shape. He's a long thrower, which makes him dangerous, and he kicks the ball 80 yards in the air. He will be hard to replace."
"I think I've improved my game a lot," Kramme said. "Mostly in leadership qualities. As captain I felt I needed to step up at times. On the field experience helped a lot. I was more comfortable in protecting the goal; I felt like I needed to be that person doing it."
Short Makes Mark
On just about any other team, Short would be the main goal-scorer. With the Bulldogs, however, his role was to set Froehlich up. Howard said Froehlich's numbers tells the tale of how good Short was at his job.
"He's one of the most unselfish players I've ever coached," Howard said of Short. "On any other team he would probably be first-team all-state. He created problems for (opponents) all year. No way Aaron scores all those goals without Hunter playing up top with him. He's a great One V One, attacking player in the box looking to serve the ball."
"I'm not the selfish type - it's all about the team," Short said. "Whatever helps the team out, that's what I'll do."
Page 3 of 3 - And when word got to him that he was all-state, Short was pumped.
"I was extremely excited," he said. "It was one of my goals in the preseason."
Short was so good at his job that he set the Bulldog career (68) and single-season (33) assists marks in 2013.
"I kind of kept track with my mom," Short said of the assists records. "I realized I was getting close."
After playing soccer together for the Rolla Knights youth club, on the high school team and with St. Louis Scott Gallagher Club, the Bulldog all-state trio will also stay together in college, as they will all play for the William Jewell men's soccer program next fall.
"It's a dream come true," Kramme said. "We all talked about it since we were little kids. The three of us have played together since the fourth grade."
"We always talked about it (going to college together)," Froehlich said. "We've played together since we were little kids and we want to keep that going."
"It's extremely exciting, playing with those guys some more," Short said.