Do you have any specific team strategies this year? Offensively-minded, defensive team, etc.
We are very, very good offensively, so we don’t work a ton on offense. It is a good balance at practice right now of offense and defense. I don’t want my offensive to settle, I want them to try to score 2, 3, 4 goals a game. But we have to make sure we keep that balance of making sure we pick each other up no matter which team is doing well and which isn’t.
What has made this year different from last year and other years in the past?
The one thing that is different this year than last year is that we are extremely balanced offensively. We don’t have one certain guy – like last year Luke Ehly was our main goal scorer. This year Clayton Phillips leads us in goals right now with 10, but our goals can come from anywhere. Tommy Nelson has 4, Grayson Rapp has 4 or 5. All of them have two or three assists. Oliver has I think 4 goals and 6 assists. I think all of our offensive players has multiple goals and multiple assists and I think that is what makes us so hard to stop. If you try to stop one person, that is fine because we have got five other guys that can score goals.
Why do you think you guys are undefeated so far?
I think what our coach did differently this year is put less players on the squad and he had a lot of people playing more minutes so everyone kind of gets more of a flow in the game and aren’t coming in and out as much. I think that has helped us be more connected and play more with everyone on the team and play more as a unit and I think we have gotten a lot better than we were last year.
How has the team gotten along inside and outside of soccer this year?
Really well, we all hang out outside of practices. We have team dinners. We also have our slumbies which are always really fun, we have everyone on the team come. Everyone is really close to each other, I mean you can ask anyone. Everyone loves going to practice every day and loves hanging out. It is a smaller team than last year so I think everyone is closer.
How has this year been different than last year and other years in the past?
One thing is that Oliver is still on the team. He almost went to play for Sporting which, if that had happened, I don’t know if we would be nearly as good. But he is a really good player and he is a senior which is even better. We also returned a lot of seniors from last year who have played a lot so that has helped a lot too.
How do you feel about being a senior this year, soccer-wise?
It is weird. It doesn’t really feel like it yet. Senior night really hit me hard when they read our names and our favorite memories. But it has been a lot of fun so far. Obviously I don’t want the season to end but it is only in a few weeks. It’s a scary thought.
How are the juniors and sophomore doing this year?
I think they have stepped up very well, it is definitely hard, especially in Charley [Colby]’s position to be the only sophomore on varsity. It is a lot of pressure. I was one of three sophomores on varsity my sophomore year and it was kind of nerve-wrecking at times. But I definitely think the sophomores and juniors, especially the juniors that were on JV last year have really stepped up and they don’t panic when they play. They play calm and they know their abilities and they are confident.
Do you have any predictions or hopes for the playoffs?
Obviously [I hope we] win state. I would hope that we can win out for the rest of the season. But last year we got to the quarterfinals and had a disappointing loss so I definitely think if we can just play our game and play focused for all those playoff games we can definitely win state. We definitely have the ability it just depends on if we can make that happen or not. It would be so incredible to become the first team ever at East to win state.