(Photo by Bill Allen/NJ SportAction)
ABOVE THE CROWD: Hun School senior goalkeeper Kevin Morse, left, leaps above the crowd to make a save in Hun's recent 3-0 win over Princeton Day School. Having already posted six shutouts this season, Morse's play in goal has helped spark Hun to a 7-2-1 start.
Morse's Play in Goal Speaking Volumes As Hun Boys' Soccer Remains a Force
By Bill Alden
Last fall, goalkeeper Kevin Morse took a low profile on the field verbally for the Hun School boy's soccer team as a senior-laden squad produced a stellar 16-4 season.
With that core of seniors now graduated, Morse has taken it upon himself to be a vocal leader, keeping up a constant chatter from the net as he guides the Hun defense.
Last Wednesday, Morse spoke volumes with his deeds as well as words, making 11 saves to help Hun to a 0-0 double overtime deadlock with powerful WW/P-S.
Morse is relishing being more outspoken on the field in his final season with the Raiders. "The seniors last year had control of the team," said the curly-haired Morse. "I didn't feel like I needed to step in. I feel like I'm a leader more this year. I feel that we have to get the team communicating more."
While Hun may lack the offensive firepower it had a year ago, the Raiders defense has picked up the slack to help the team get off to a 7-2-1 start.
"With the help of [defenders] Matt Sanford, Marc Chiarello, and myself, we hold it together back there," said Morse, who has posted six shutouts so far this season. "We make sure the younger guys have the confidence to know that they can play well."
One thing that has helped Hun play well is its teamwide intensity. "We look to go out there the same way everyday," maintained Morse. "Everyday, everyone comes out hungry as they came out for the game before."
Morse, however, did acknowledge that he and his teammates came out with a little extra fire against WW/P-S in the wake of Hun's 1-0 overtime defeat to Steinert two days earlier.
"There was something definitely in our minds that we didn't want to lose two games in a row," said Morse. "We came out a little harder than we usually do."
Hun head coach Chris Kingston was happy with his team's effort which saw Hun dominate possession in the first half and then clamp down defensively when WW/P-S counterattacked in the second half and in overtime.
"It was a good game," said Kingston, whose club outshot the Pirates 14-11 over the 100 minutes of play.
"We knew that they were probably going to be better than any team we've played all year. The first half was probably the best soccer we've played all year. We were really moving the ball nicely against them. In the second half, they adjusted to our style. We were struggling to keep the ball. The good thing about the second half is that we were fighting just as hard and held them to fewer chances."
With Morse in the net, Kingston is confident that Hun will turn away the opposition's chances most of the time.
"He's been very good most of the year," said Kingston. "When he's leading and coming out, being aggressive and distributing the ball, he's been awesome. He hasn't given up more than a goal in his career in any game besides the games with St. Benedict's. It's two years but that's pretty impressive. He's been very, very steady back there for us."
Kingston is happy with the consistency his club has displayed so far this season. "We can't talk about a record and whether we're happy with it," said Kingston. "I do like the way the season is going. We lost Ryan Breen for the season on Monday; he's one of our starting defenders and guys just stepped in for him today. Everyone is getting along together."
The team's one-for-all and all-for-one mentality appears to be a by-product of lessons learned last fall.
"When you're on a team like last year and you do so well, you start to learn how to win," explained Kingston, whose club hosts Blair on October 15 and Union Catholic on October 17.
"You learn that the team's success is way more fun than individual success. You learn how to win and you start craving that. It's not hard if your older guys are unselfish and just about the team. The younger guys follow them. It's a pretty fun thing to have going."
Morse, for his part, is looking to have some more fun this fall. "We're playing well together," said Morse.
"We've had a couple of unlucky breaks but the goals will come. Our defense is playing great. As long as we keep playing hard, we should be fine."