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Harrison Soccer Looks to Continue Reign of Dominance Behind Defense

Sports

Harrison Soccer Looks to Continue Reign of Dominance Behind Defense

Elias Laborin

 

After one of the most successful years in recent memory, the Harrison soccer team, looks to sustain and build on the previous years’ successes as they begin the 2015 season.

The team moves on without only two starters lost to graduation, second-team all-state member Christian Stiverson and Ricky Gonzalez.

They rode a hot streak and one of the state’s best defenses, spearheaded by goalie Kyle Bugay to a 21-2-2 record along with a semi-state appearance. With all-state honorable mentions Kyle Bugay and Matthew Roop, the team looks to improve on its previous record and reach the state finals.

After only losing two starters to graduation, the Raiders have come out motivated as ever following early coach’s polls having Harrison ranked as only 15th in the state.

The defense has come out as tenacious as ever, allowing only two goals in three games as the offense has not been able to find its footing early.

A masterful defensive effort started the season with a 2-0 shutout against Lebanon in which the defense stifled Lebanon and controlled possession. This allowed Harrison to recover from a slow offensive start to put two in the net in the second half, capped off by junior Alex Webb’s goal.

Harrison then had its chance to prove that it belongs among the state’s elite and did just that, playing to a 1-1 draw against a top-10 ranked Fishers squad. After that, the Raiders went on to defeat a top-15 ranked Guerin Catholic 2-1. After getting off to a 2-0-1 start, Harrison will continue to try to make a name for itself in this year’s push for a state berth.

What to Watch For: In a season that will be defined by the motto “Defense Wins Championships,” the Raider defense will be led by seniors Nash Walker and Matthew Roop. Their play will be constantly monitored along with their two-man race to be the team leader in steals as they are tied after three games at 11 steals apiece. After a season in which he led the team in total points, Nathan Campbell will be an offensive force to be reckoned with as he looks to outperform a junior year in which he scored 11 goals to go along with eight assists. He begins this year with a team-high five points after two goals and an assist through the first three games.

Important Stat of the Year: 16. Kyle Bugay and the defense look to add to a season in which the team had 16 shut-outs in 25 games. Only Lebanon has been shut out this year, but the team will look to add to that as the competition softens. The Raiders will play their next 9 games against unranked opponents after playing back-to-back ranked opponents.

Date to Watch For: September 19. The Raiders will face off against current third-ranked Chesterton at 12:30 in Chesterton. This is the Raiders lone regular season matchup against a current ranked opponent and will be a great test of the team’s talent going into sectional season.