Varsity Soccer Preview (2020)

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Varsity Soccer Preview (2020)

Photo by Fr. Raphael

Photo by Fr. Raphael

Photo by Fr. Raphael

Photo by Fr. Raphael

Maxwell Vaughan, Writer

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After a very strong start to last year’s season, the Hawks’ finish left a bitter taste in the mouths of many players.  The Hawks only lost three starting seniors from last year:  Jimmy Garda, Anthony Farhat, and Samuel Hernandez.  While Jimmy Garda’s speed and Hernandez’s aggressiveness will certainly be missed, soccer is a very adaptive sport and so the Hawks must adjust their style of play for the season to come.

I believe that the Hawks can adjust easily to a new style of play implemented by Coach Walsh.  Although speed helps, soccer is never won with speed.  In previous years, the Hawks have relied on scrappy play and tough defending, and then quickly counterattacking. However, with the loss of Jimmy Garda, long balls are not an option.  The Hawks have to shift to a more direct style of play.  In other words, they need more build-up and possession.  This requires all eleven players on the field to be competent, calm, and smart on the ball.  The majority of these players come from the Senior and Junior classes.  Among these standout Seniors are center midfielder Reefe Harrison (’20), winger Evan Anderson (’20), center midfielder Oscar Anderhub (20′), and center-back Hogan Jones (20′).  Reefe is one of the better players on the team and is very well-rounded.  Evan has improved significantly over the off season (specifically his dribbling and distribution) and has a dangerous left foot.  Oscar is a physical, no-nonsense midfielder.  He reads the game well and knows where to be on the field.  Hogan is a rock at the back and was a big part of the team’s defensive success last year.  In addition, Senior defenders Kyle Blessing and Stephan Salhab will return as starters.  Kyle has years of experience as a forward and Stephan has learned how to play short passes.

The Junior class brings two returning starters:  central midfielder Chase Frutos and forward Zain Dabbous.  Chase is one of the best passers on the team and has a high soccer IQ as well.  Zain is not necessarily known for his goal-scoring prowess, but is a classic example of a target forward:  preferring to play with his back to goal and distributing to midfielders.  Fellow Juniors Ben Woods and Maxwell Vaughan (both wingers) saw solid minutes last year coming off the bench.  Ben, who has played forward throughout his soccer career, is a natural goal-scorer and finisher.  Maxwell is not a flashy player, but he is versatile, as he can play center mid, too.  Another Junior who saw decent minutes last year was Beto De Los Santos.  He will be playing a more defensive role this year, making use of his physicality in the back.  Another key Junior will be defender Andrew Farhat.  He is very comfortable with the ball and one of the more skilled players on the team.  He has a very strong leg, and hopefully he can channel his inner Steven Gerrard and hit some 30 yard screamers.

Sophomore midfielder Jakob Quarles is another key piece from last year who will be returning.  He may be small, but he makes up for this with excellent skill and solid passing.  Sophomores Santi Ramirez and Masaki Fraccaroli will also return, and they have shown promise in unofficial practices over the summer.  The last possible key piece of the team is Freshman attacker Diego Prida.  Already one of the most skilled on the team, he wowed many of the upperclassmen over the summer.

All in all, it looks like the Hawks are set up for success this year with this new system and the multitude of players they have to play in it.  On top of this, a solid non-conference schedule throughout the winter should prepare them for the conference games in January, and eventually the SPC Tournament in February.

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