October 10, 2012

Maintaining Work Ethic Despite Rocky Start, Hun Boys’ Soccer Reaping Fruits of Its Labor

GRIESE FIRE: Hun School boys’ soccer player Alex Griese controls the ball in recent action. Last Saturday, senior midfielder Griese scored the lone goal as Hun edged visiting Blair 1-0. The Raiders, now 3-7, play at perennial power St. Benedict’s on October 10 and at Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) foe Hill School (Pa.) on October 13. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)

When the Hun School boys’ soccer team lost its first four games this fall, it could have suffered from an uncomfortable sense of deja vu.

In 2011, Hun started 0-10 on the way to a disappointing 4-12 campaign.

This year’s Raider squad, though, has avoided a similar tailspin, having regrouped to win three of its next five games.

Hun head coach Pat Quirk noted that his players never got discouraged despite the rocky start.

“They haven’t stopped working,” said Quirk. “They have really buckled down.”

Last Saturday, the Raiders buckled down when it counted as they edged the Blair Academy 1-0.

“It was a good win,” said Quirk. “We may not have played the best soccer but it was good to start the MAPL (Mid-Atlantic Prep League) season with a win.”

Hun is getting some of its best play from junior goalie Chris Meinert, who recorded eight saves in the victory.

“Meinert made some great saves,” said Quirk of his keeper who earned his second straight shutout as Hun had blanked the Princeton Day School 2-0 last Wednesday.

“There was a flurry of shots at one point, five or six and he stayed on his line. I think he is getting into a rhythm. We want him to be more vocal and be bigger in the box and he is coming around.”

In the win over the Buccaneers, Hun got a big goal from senior Alex Griese.

“We put Griese on the outside and he is getting more space,” said Quirk. “He is a creative player.”

In Quirk’s view, getting more balls in the back of the net has made the difference for the Raiders.

“We are scoring goals,” said Quirk, whose team’s initial win came when it beat Academy of New Church (Pa.) 4-0 on September 27.

“We got two goals in a loss to Pennington. I thought we played pretty well; they got some goals on defensive mix-ups. It was good to see us score a bunch of goals against ANC, we haven’t done that in a while.”

The Raiders have been getting some nice contributions from such experienced players as senior Peter Stoddard, junior Bailey Hammer, senior Robert Hedberg, junior Andres Gonzalez, and senior Nick Revano.

“Stoddard and Bailey have been playing well; Robert Hedberg is new to the team and he has been playing well,” said Quirk.

“The back line has been good. Andres and Revano have been good in the middle of the field.”

Quirk has been happy with the contributions he has been getting from some of his younger players.

“All the freshmen have been playing well; they have been getting quality minutes,” said Quirk, whose freshmen include defenders MJ Cobb, Devin Ducharme, and Alex Semler.

After battling high-quality foe Trenton Catholic hard in a 2-1 loss on Monday, the Raiders play at perennial power St. Benedict’s on October 10 and at MAPL foe Hill School (Pa.) on October 13.

“They are two of the best teams in the area and the state,” said Quirk, whose team is now 3-7 after the loss to TCA which saw Revano find the back of the net for the Raiders.

“Hill has a really good record so far. We need to put together some good soccer and not get down on ourselves if things don’t go well. It is a fast-paced game and we have to be ready for that. This is going to help us.”