Fueled by Smarr’s Unselfish Play, Leadership, Hun Boys’ Soccer Heading in Right Direction
PLAYING SMART: Hun School boys’ soccer player Elijah Smarr controls the ball in recent action. Last Saturday, senior midfielder Smarr chipped in an assist to help Hun defeat Blair Academy 3-0 in its Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) opener. The Raiders, now 5-4, play at the Hill School (Pa.) on October 13 before hosting Northern Burlington on October 16. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
With the Hun School boys’ soccer team locked in a scoreless tie with Life Center Academy last week, Elijah Smarr had the ball on his foot near the goal.
But rather than firing away, Hun senior midfield Smarr saw teammate Amar Anand breaking free and slotted the ball to him and he found the back of the net.
“Jack Tarzy played me a nice ball in; I could have taken him on but I saw that Amar had a better angle so I just played it to him and he was able to put it away,” said Smarr of the score that came with 27:13 left in the half.
That tally set the tone as the Raiders scored three goals in the next five minutes of the contest on the way to a 4-2 triumph.
“It opened it up for us; we were to attack them in wide positions as well as take them on one on one,” said Smarr. “That was a good performance.”
With the victory marking the third straight win for Hun after a 1-3 start, Smarr believes the squad is starting to find a rhythm.
“We had a little change in style of play; we are looking to possess the ball more with one and two touches,” said Smarr.
“It is very evident in our film and our goal scoring opportunities, which is really nice.”
Settling into an attacking midfielder role, Smarr is looking to trigger the Hun offense.
“I am playing more of that eight role, going box to box,” said Smarr, who chipped in another assist as Hun defeated Blair 3-0 last Saturday in its Mid-Atlantic Prep League (MAPL) opener to improve to 5-4. “I am able to get forward more and dictate the speed of play and things like that.”
As a two-year team captain, Smarr is looking to help the team move forward.
“I am definitely seeing the game more, I am able to help the younger guys,” said Smarr. “I am trying to make sure that I get better every day as well as the guys around me, pushing them to do well in training and keep the level of training up.”
Hun head coach Pat Quirk credits Smarr with having an impact as a player and a leader.
“As a center mid, we lean on Elijah at the center of our attack,” said Quirk. “He has a little fire to him; he definitely talks a little bit. He is one of our captains and a leader; he pushes the guys to play better.”
Junior midfielder Gibson Campbell showed his attacking ability in the win over Life Center, notching Hun’s second goal in the contest.
“Gibson is playing more of an attacking role; he can get dangerous down the line and he puts some crosses in,” said Quirk, who also got goals from Luke McManimon and Tarzy in the victory.
“As of yesterday, he led the tram in assists; I think he has two or three this year. He gets dangerous down the line and puts good balls in.”
Quirk has also been getting good work from senior James Muldowney, sophomore Anand, and junior BrianSpencer.
“James has been playing really well for us; he was playing outside back and we pushed him to the wing and he complements Gibson,” said Quirk.
“They both get very dangerous down the line. Amar Anand is leading us in goals. Brian Spencer has been the anchor as a center back; he is controlling that.”
Hun has playing together well as the fall has unfolded. “We have got a core group of kids that just play well together,” said Quirk.
“They are figuring it out and they have this competition side to them. It starts in training and moves on the to the field; there is a big cohesiveness together.”
That cohesive play has the Raiders looking forward to a nice stretch run.
“In the last three games, we are showing that we can score and that we can be creative offensively,” said Quirk, whose team plays at the Hill School (Pa.) on October 13 before hosting Northern Burlington on October 16. “We can tighten up the defense a little bit; that is coming.”
Smarr, for his part, sees the team’s hard work in training as the key to its recent offensive outburst.
“The training level was very high and guys are getting into it and it shows that our level of intensity is there,” said Smarr.
“Scoring goals is definitely something important to the game. But to us it doesn’t matter who scores as long as the ball is in the net and we are getting the result that we want.”