Hawks soccer getting back in the groove

Horizon’s 0-3 start due in part to players reintroducing themselves to the game

The focus of the Horizon Christian School soccer team during the next few weeks will be to take care of the little things.

The Hawks are off to a 0-3 start to the 2012 season, but first-year coach Rick Whitaker isn’t pushing the panic button.

“The first two matches went real well,” he said. “The stuff that got us (in trouble) was just the minor stuff. The passing was there; the players were in the right spots. It’s just the little things.

“The small mistakes killed ‘em; stabbing at the ball, not marking up.”

Horizon’s first two matches were this past weekend at the Trout Lake tournament. The Hawks lost their Friday opener 3-1 to Corbett and lost on Saturday to City Christian, 6-2. Horizon led early in both matches. On Monday, Horizon showed a little more consistent play in a 3-1 home loss to Trout Lake.

“I'm not discouraged,” Whitaker said. “It was only the third game of the season; and they’ve been nonleague games.”

Whitaker has liberally shuffled players in and out of the lineup, trying different combinations on the field.

The trend of Horizon’s soccer teams has been to start slow, as players get acclimated to soccer. All but one of the players are seasonal, meaning their time on the field is limited to the fall season. What’s more, Horizon’s early season practices are interrupted the first week of each school year as the student body spends three days on a spiritual and bonding retreat to Jonah Ministries.

The Hawks showed some road weariness in their first three matches. Sophomore Mason Bloomster had the team’s only goal against Corbett. Against City Christian, Aman Mann scored in the game’s opening minute, but City scored four unanswered goals to take control of the match.

Mann is one of four seniors for the Hawks, along with Bryce Smith, James Rovianek and Raquel Bruggeman.

“We have a lot of speed this year,” Whitaker said, referring in part to Mann, who is the Hawks’ lone year-round soccer player. Mann is good enough that he will attract double and triple teams from opponents. Whitaker said that means the players around him will have to step up their games. “He can’t do it all by himself,” the coach said.

Mann showed some of his unselfish skills Monday by drawing a couple of Trout Lake defenders before distributing a couple of nice crossing passes in front of the goal.

The next match for the Hawks is today (Wednesday) at Southwest Christian in Beaverton at 4:15 p.m.

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