Already Displaying a Good Team Chemistry, Hun Boys’ Soccer Primed for 2018 Campaign
HEADING DOWNFIELD: Hun School boys’ soccer player James Muldowney boots the ball in a game last season. Senior defender Muldowney has emerged as a two-way star for Hun, leading the team in assists in 2017 while providing solid play on the back line. The Raiders get regular season action underway when they play at the Academy of New Church (Pa.) on September 7. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
The Hun School boys’ soccer team doesn’t boast any big stars, but Pat Quirk believes that is a good thing.
“The mood right now is very excited with a really good team chemistry,” said Hun head coach Quirk, whose squad posted a 3-13 record last fall.
“There are no big egos and no kids are trying to put themselves ahead of other kids. They are just working hard for each other.”
Hun has been getting good work at forward from junior Luke McManimon and sophomore newcomer Amar Anand.
“They are two bigger guys, both over six feet tall and broad shouldered,” said Quirk, whose team gets regular season action underway when it plays at the Academy of New Church (Pa.) on September 7.
“They can really hold up defenders, they are good target guys. They came into camp really fit, their pace is really nice. They both have a good vision of the game. They could be a one-two punch or play up there by themselves one at time if we just play with one striker.”
Senior Elijah Smarr has emerged as the engine of the midfield and a team leader.
“We made him a captain last year as a junior because we saw a lot of great qualities in him as a leader and as somebody who puts the team before him,” said Quirk, who will also be using juniors Tishe Olaleye and Gibson Campbell in the central midfield.
“He has really continued that through the offseason and into the preseason. I think he is going to be a guy, along with those other two, who are really going to control the midfield for a lot of the games. We have seen that so far in the first two scrimmages.”
Quirk is considering a number of options on the flank.
“We are looking at a lot of different guys on the outside,” said Quirk. “Seniors Zack Wellman and Ronak Pandya have started in the two scrimmages but we have another senior, Sebastian Lawrence, who may see some time out there and some freshmen like John Balian, Jack Tarzy or Lucas Mazzoni.”
In the middle of the back line, junior Brian Spencer is poised for a big season.
“Brian has made a huge step up at center back,” asserted Quirk, who also has senior Andre Balian playing at center back.
“He has been playing since his freshman year, but this jump from his sophomore year to junior year has been pretty incredible. He has been able to control the back and is really working on positioning with everybody.”
Junior star James Muldowney figures to give Hun some good work at back.
“James Muldowney is on the outside; he led us in assists last year and he is the guy that gets very dangerous from the back,” said Quirk, noting that senior Joey Licitra and freshman Tarzy may also see time at outside back.
“We may look to see if we can move him up to the wing because of how dangerous he is, but he does very well in the back as a one-on-one defender.”
At goalie, senior Coleman Chiurco is primed to step into the starting role.
“Coleman Chiurco was the back-up last year, he saw a couple of minutes in games,” said Quirk.
“He has been working extra hard with our goalie coach from the end of last season to now and has really improved his game and his communication in the back.”
In Quirk’s view, paying attention to the present and team unity are factors that could lead to a good season for the Raiders.
“What we have been talking about is just focusing on one day at a time; don’t be content with what we did yesterday and don’t be content where we are,” said Quirk.
“We had two pretty good results in out first two preseason scrimmages. They know that it is going to get tougher. We play in a really tough league, we play in a really tough county. Another big key for us our team chemistry: we need to rely on team over individuals. It looks like they are headed down that road right now.”