The deluge that hit the area Monday afternoon led to the cancellation of a number of high school athletic events.
But the rain didn’t dampen the spirit of the Hun School girls’ soccer team as it headed out for practice.
“Sometimes when it is like that, it is let’s go in,” said Hun head coach Ken Stevenson.
“I asked them if they wanted to go out and they were like yeah, let’s play. They were into it.”
For the Hun players, cheerfully dealing with a downpour was in character for a squad that has been overcoming adversity throughout the 2012 campaign.
Before the season even started, senior captain and star midfielder Joey Crivelli suffered a season-ending knee injury. That started an injury bug that has plagued the Raiders all season long.
“One of the challenges we have had and to which they are responding well is that our string of injuries continues unabated,” said Stevenson.
“When I sat down on Friday to do my lineup for the Hill game the next day, I had only 11 players so I called up two JV players and said here is your chance.”
Hun was up to the challenge as it battled to a 1-1 tie with the Blues in its Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) opener.
“Getting a tie against someone in your league on the road after a long bus ride is a good result,” said Stevenson, whose team moved to 3-2-4 with the tie.
“Danielle Beal got the goal on a good feed from Paige McGuire, who is working her way back. Paloma Rodney and Anna Weinand got called up and they got in and played well. Courtney Arch was already called up; she was our JV goalie and she is playing in the field and doing a good job for us. It is like the NFL with the next man up. I can’t complain about the effort or commitment.”
In the draw with Hill, sophomore defender Jess Sacco exemplified the commitment that Stevenson has been getting from his players.
“Jess Sacco excelled when I put a lot of pressure on her in the Hill game,” said Stevenson.
“We lost both Maziarz sisters [Ashley and Ally] for that game and I changed the formation to deal with it. Hill had one very fast and dangerous forward and I told Sacco she would be marking her but that I also needed her to help the offense. She went out and played, by far, the best game of her high school career against Hill when we really needed it the most.”
While senior star Crivelli hasn’t been able to play, she has been giving the team some needed leadership.
“I give Joey a lot of credit; she loves soccer and is very passionate about the game,” said Stevenson.
“She knows how much she could contribute but is unable to. That is very hard for a senior. I talked to her about going from frustrated player to helpful assistant coach. Her encouragement and talking to the girls has been a big help. I am sure it has made a difference. She is relentlessly upbeat. She is critical but in the sense of I know you can do better.”
Although the Raiders will be shorthanded down the final stretch of the season, Stevenson is upbeat about his team’s prospects.
“The biggest challenge is that every game from here on out is huge; we have Blair, Lawrenceville, Peddie, and Mercersburg coming up, every game is going to be either a MAPL or a state Prep A game,” said Stevenson, whose team hosts Blair on October 17 and Lawrenceville on October 20.
“When we are on our game, we are really good. We tied East Brunswick and they are 13-1-2 or something like that. We tied Episcopal and they have beaten all the MAPL teams they have played. When we start well and stay in our system we are competitive. We are good at connecting and playing to feet. When we do that, I like our chances.”