Winning on the road is always a difficult prospect, but for this year’s Washington Hatchet boys soccer team, winning away from the friendly confines will go a long way toward determining 2012.
The Hatchets (6-1-4) have had an up and down season, even though their record wouldn’t indicate that to a casual observer of the historic soccer program.
Since the Hatchets opened the season with a 14-0 drubbing of Princeton, they spent the next nine games struggling in the eyes of former player and current head coach Quintin Myers. The low point was a stunning 7-0 home loss to Vincennes Lincoln. Myers’ team hasn’t lost in the 10 matches since, eight of which were road matches.
Washington had three home games on the 2012 schedule, and played their final Sept. 4 in a Senior Night win against Forest Park. The lack of home games is due to a cancellation in their scheduling contract from Evansville Reitz, their original Sept. 24 opponent. Myers explained that the lack of home games is unfortunate, but the schedule flips from year to year.
“It’s a lot nicer being on our home field without all the traveling,” Myers said. “I think they (the team) enjoy the bus trips. We always go out to eat afterwards and they stay entertained with their iPad’s and computers. They aren’t suffering too much.”
While Myers would love to play more games at home like last year, he thinks this is a great opportunity to prepare for postseason play against some top-flight competition.
“We aren’t going to be hosting sectional, so they (the team) can get used to playing in front of another team’s home crowd,” Myers said.
The Hatchets are riding a 10-game unbeaten streak, which includes Thursday’s 1-0 win at No. 15 Castle, a game Myers said his team circles on the calendar each year as one of their biggest.
In addition this weekend’s Fort Wayne Canterbury Invite will provide more stiff competition.
“We have a huge game at Boonville (today), which is another team we have a chance of seeing at sectional,” Myers said. “Saturday, we have No. 10 Fort Wayne Homestead and No. 5 Valparaiso all within four hours. For Valparaiso it will be their first game of the day where it will be our second. Both of those games will be huge tests for us.”
Myers has seen varying results this season from top competition, including the win at Castle.
He hopes as the season continues, and the games become more meaningful, his team will step up to the challenge.
“It’s always that way, you step up for bigger games, but we had that in the beginning of the season with Bloomington South and Evansville North where we didn’t step up and tied both of those,” Myers said. “We have had some talks lately with some key players, and they are looking to take over this team and make us go where we need to go.”
As the Hatchets finish off their final six games before sectional play at Boonville, they face a unique situation that could earn them another chance to play in front of their home fans if they are able to take care of tournament business on the road.
“It would definitely be pretty amazing if we could come out of sectional on top knowing that we get to come home to play possibly two games,” Myers said. “That would be a huge reward for us.”
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