Jeeps can challenge for soccer sectionalAugust 13, 2020
By JONATHAN SAXON
DUBOIS — The Northeast Dubois boys soccer team went through their peaks and valleys last year, but coach Clive Williams was proud of the way the players improved during the fall. He pointed out the Jeeps led most of the sectional semifinal game against North Posey before they fell to the Vikings, 3-1. Williams said the boys worked hard to get to the point where they could hang with the eventual sectional champions, and that work is what they will build on for this season.
“They improved a lot during the course of the year,” he said. “We came very far very quickly. Last year was my first losing season, and I told the guys, ‘I don’t care about that. I just care about you guys improving and being a better team.’ They proved that to me towards the end. This year, our expectations are high.”
The Jeeps are loaded with upperclassmen talent and figure to have impact players all over the field. Seniors Ethan Myers, Darrin Grigsby and Cole Tretter will man the backline for the Jeeps’ defense. Juniors Bryce Merkel and Ethan Danhafer will do their work from the midfield. Sophomores Noah Betz and Gaige Schepers will be active getting in shots on their opponents from the front, but Williams also thinks the midfield and backline players will also contribute a good deal to the Jeeps’ offense.
“I’m expecting it from all areas,” he said.
Williams said the system the team plays with will change depending on the opponent, but whatever the Jeeps run will be based on sharp passing, solid ball control and reliable finishing at the net. The goal is to develop a flexible team that can institute different systems throughout the year to take advantage of certain lineups or matchups.
“The system, depending on who we play against, will change,” said Williams. “They’ve got to learn that, and that’s what they’ve been doing over the past few years and getting used to it.”
Williams thinks the Jeeps have a chance at challenging for a sectional title if the team stays healthy and continues building on last year’s gains. He cited better communication, a greater understanding of players’ roles and increased fitness as the main keys for the Jeeps’ success this fall. So far, Williams can tell the players have put in the time to sharpen their skills and, he said it seems like they are playing with an added chip on their shoulder. It bothers the Jeeps that they finished below .500 for the first time in a long time last season. Cleansing that taste from their mouths is a season goal they all want to achieve.
“They want to do this,” he said. “They want to do it because we didn’t have a winning season, so they want to make up for it. They’re motivated to do well this season. We feel we are where we should be right now, and we’re hoping that we’ll be there in the end, showing ourselves very well against teams that we play against.”
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