Benefitting from Unselfish Mentality Last Fall, Hun Boys’ Soccer Aiming to Continue Progress
CLEAR LEADER: Hun School boys’ soccer player Brian Spencer clears the ball in a game last season. Senior defender and four-year starter Spencer will be counted on to spearhead Hun’s back line this season. The Raiders, who fell 3-1 to Haddonfield last Saturday in their season opener, are scheduled to face Putnam Science Academy in the Main Line High School Jamboree at the United Sports Center on September 15 and host Pennington on September 17. (Photo by Frank Wojciechowski)
By Bill Alden
Fueled by an unselfish mentality, the Hun School boys’ soccer team produced a solid campaign last fall, going 9-10 and advancing to the state Prep A semifinals.
As Hun starts the 2019 season, Pat Quirk is hoping that attitude has become a staple of the program.
“I think what the kids returning from last year learned is that everybody has to be playing together,” said Hun head coach Quirk.
“The one thing we praised last year was that there wasn’t anybody with a big ego. They were OK with another kid scoring as long as the team was playing well together.”
Hun boasts a large contingent of returners and some key newcomers.
“We have had a lot of kids come out so it is a very competitive preseason for us,” said Quirk, whose team started regular season play by falling 3-1 to Haddonfield High last Saturday.
“The kids are playing with a lot of high energy. We have a lot of talent on the varsity level, I would say this is one of the deepest teams we have had in a while.”
At forward, the quartet of junior Amar Anand, sophomore Lucas Mazzoni, senior Luke McManimon, and junior George Bailey gives Hun some good depth up top.
“Amar wasn’t with us in preseason this year, he was over in Spain training with a club team there,” said Quirk.
“I had known that last spring and I am expecting him to do things up top. Lucas has been showing up a lot in camp. He plays with a lot of heart and effort; he has good speed and a good left foot. Luke, who played a little bit up there last year, is a senior leader. George has been in our program a couple of years, he will look to play up top some also.”
In the midfield, the Raiders are looking strong with a group that includes senior Tishe Olaleye, junior Jack Tarzy, junior Levin Sanchez Willems, senior Gibson Campbell, freshman William Zihang Zheng, sophomore John Balian, and sophomore Osman Bayaztoglu
“We have Tishe who played there last year with Elijah Smarr,” said Quirk.
“Jack will probably play some in the midfield and then we got Levin who came to us from the Dominican Republic and has been looking really good in the midfield for us. Those are center mids. Gibson has been playing outside mid and Zheng has been playing a little bit out wide. John and Osi could play any of those positions in the midfield as well.”
Senior Brian Spencer figures to lead the back line along with classmates Jake Marcin and Chris Antar, freshman Tyler Stark, junior Aiden Spektor, and sophomore AJ Torres
“This is Brian’s fourth year playing center back, he started as a freshman,” said Quirk.
“He was a little banged up coming into the preseason but he played in the last scrimmage and really controlled the back line. Jake played a lot for us last year in the back. Chris is going to play a little defense as well. Tyler will see some good minutes, probably in the back. Aiden came up with us towards the end of the season, he may play in the back or the midfield. A.J. will probably give us some good energy off the bench.”
At goalkeeper, junior Alex Donahue has made good progress and is ready to step into the starting spot.
“Alex put in a lot of work this summer to really fill a role, we are pretty confident with him playing the goal,” said Quirk.
“He is really good with his feet, he is really good on the line and reaction saves. He is working on coming out and being a little more aggressive in the air. He is willing to put work in to get better.”
Early on, Quirk likes the work rate he is seeing from his players. “The kids are playing with a lot of high energy,” said Quirk, whose team faces Putnam Science Academy in the Main Line High School Jamboree at the United Sports Center on September 15 and hosts Pennington on September 17.
“We had a scrimmage against Lawrence and the other coach said we are at another level of energy. That is reassuring. If we can do that for 80 minutes, that would be great. The guys coming off the bench need to make sure that they are keeping the energy where it is or maybe bringing it up a little bit when they step on the field.”