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Vol. LXV, No. 39
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
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(Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
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SAVING PLAN: Hun School girls’ soccer goalie Lexi Golestani prepares to make a save in action last season. Senior tri-captain Golestani has posted three shutouts so far this fall as the Raiders have started 5-0. Hun faces a key test on October 4 when it hosts perennial state Prep A champion Pennington.

Emphasizing Hard Work on a Daily Basis, Hun Girls’ Soccer Produces Sizzling Start

Bill Alden

In 2010, the Hun School girls’ soccer team struggled to a dismal 1-7-1 start on the way to a 4-10-3 season.

Producing a major reversal of fortune, Hun has gotten out of the gate this fall with a sizzling 5-0 record, already surpassing its win total from last year.

In the view of Hun head coach Ken Stevenson, the seeds for this year’s sharp play were sown from the disappointment of 2010.

“They are not taking anything for granted, that is the big lesson they learned from last year,” said Stevenson. “They show up everyday and work hard.”

Last Wednesday, the Raiders put in some extra work as they overcame a tough Princeton Day School team 3-2 in overtime.

In Stevenson’s view, that victory spoke volumes about his team’s pluck this season.

“It was like an entire season in one game,” said Stevenson, whose team led 2-0 at halftime only to see PDS score twice early in the second half as the contest turned into a nailbiter.

“We opened strong, took a lead, let them back into the game, hung on, built momentum, were pressing hard at the end, then took our momentum into the OT when we completely dominated. It was a complete team effort.”

The dominance of senior striker and tri-captain Holly Hargreaves made the difference as she scored all three of Hun’s goals in the win.

“We built and we built and Holly was not to be denied; we worked hard to get that win,” said Stevenson. “Holly is developing into that kind of leader.”

The Raiders have been getting top-notch leadership from all three captains as senior goalie Lexi Golestani and senior defender Nicole Campellone have been as influential as Hargreaves.

“All three captains have done that this year,” asserted Stevenson, whose club blanked Mercersburg Academy 6-0 last Saturday with Hargreaves notching another hat trick and Golestani getting into the act offensively, scoring a goal as she got to play in the field with the game under control.

“Lexi has three shutouts. She is fearless, relentless, coming off the line, challenging every loose ball in the back. She’s leading both by example and also because she’s very clearly in charge back there which everyone on the team recognizes. Nicole has had several textbook slide tackles and cleared to balls of the end line already. They have each taken the team on their back and the rest of the players so trust their level of the game.”

While Hargreaves is Hun’s top offensive weapon, the rest of the Hun players have raised the level of their games in producing a flowing style of play.

“It may look like we give the ball to Holly and let her score but we play possession and play to feet,” explained Stevenson, crediting junior forward Angelica Tabares with providing some deft playmaking. “Everyone has to be confident to do that well. We build through the back.”

Stevenson has confidence in the squad collectively, noting that several unsung heroes have emerged this fall.

“Nicole Shockley moving from outside defender to central defender has adjusted brilliantly and is playing with tremendous confidence,” said Stevenson.

“Gianna Crivelli had the lone goal against George. Danielle Beal has played with great gusto and had vital minutes against PDS, helping to turn the tide with her energy when they were pressing us. Olivia Braender-Carr is recovering from an injury so she is not 100 percent fit yet but is so smart and so aggressive that she creates mistakes because of her hustle and then does the right thing next. Erica Dwyer is a freshman who has been making great penetrating runs late in games helping to wear down the defense. Jess Sacco is another freshman; she is a tireless central marking midfielder who plays with great intensity every second.”

The Raiders will be facing some intense competition as they head into October.

“We will learn a lot in the next two weeks; Episcopal is pretty good. I think they beat us handily last year,” said Stevenson, whose team was slated to play at Episcopal on September 27 before hosting perennial state Prep A champion Pennington on October 4 and Lawrenceville on October 7.

“Lawrenceville has had a bit of a rough start but that is a real local rivalry. where both teams really get up for each other. It is always a good game. Pennington is also coming up.”

Stevenson likes the way his players are getting up to play on a daily basis.

“They are really taking it day by day,” said Stevenson. “Sometimes they surprise themselves and say ‘oh yeah, we are good.’”

And with wins in their first five games this fall, Hun has emerged as one of the pleasant surprises on the local soccer scene.

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