This week, we’ll be reviewing some of the highlights of DA’s fall sports season. Today’s round up focuses on the boys soccer team that reached postseason play with its largest squad in four years.
By Bob York
What a difference a year makes.
Last fall, Big Green boys soccer went 10-6-1 and didn’t receive a tournament invite. This year, it went 9-7-2 and did. Go figure.
According to coach Jan Flaska the difference ran a little deeper than a feeling of disappointment, followed by one of accomplishment.
“I think the key to success for us this season was the fact that every one of our players took on a certain role and each and every one of them embraced the role they played. It gave us a great deal of cohesiveness as we played through the season.”
The fact that Flaska had a dozen players returning from that 10-6-1 club didn’t hinder Deerfield’s hopes for reaching postseason play, nor did the fact that he had his largest team—24 players—since he took over the program four years ago.
Forward Hunter Huebsch (’11) was the Big Green’s big scorer this fall and earned All-Region, All-State, and All-League honors, as well as winning Deerfield’s Holbrook Ellis Cup as the team’s Most Valuable Player.
“The New England region selects just four players for its All-Star team … and those four represent prep schools as well as high schools,” explained Flaska. “And Hunter was one of those four … that’s a real tribute to his talents.”
Huebsch wasn’t the only player to earn All-League honors, however. Midfielder Tim Shea (’11) earned a spot on the team, while two others, goalie Logan Mobley (’11) and centerback Kurt Heise (’12), made honorable mention.
Despite its 9-7-2 record, the Big Green outscored its opponents by a 43-29 margin and was a bounce or two from ending up 12-4-2, as it dropped a pair of 1-0 decisions and lost another by a 2-1 margin.
“We were in every game we played during the regular season but two … a 5-2 loss to Exeter and a 4-0 loss to Andover,” said Flaska. “Plus, we lost to NMH, 4-0, in the first round of the playoffs … the team that ended up winning the championship.”
Just one week prior to its playoff loss to the Hoggers, NMH supplied the Big Green with one of its highlights of the season, when Dayton scored with just 15 seconds remaining in the game to earn Deerfield a 3-3 tie.
There were other close calls as well, such as posting a 2-1 win over perennial powerhouse Loomis and a last-second 2-1 win over Kent on a Huebsch goal.
Flaska was also blessed with an abundance of depth this fall and the veteran mentor made good use of it. Of the 24 players on the roster, 18 of them started at one time or another.
Flaska even had two outstanding goaltenders on this year’s roster. There was Mobley, an all-leaguer, and there was Tanner Larson (’11), who split time with Mobley.
Assisting the goaltenders this season on defense were Will Henry (’11), Bob Osgood (’11), Matt McDonald (’11), Kurt Heise (’12), and Colin Crihfield (’12).
Up front, Alex Ward (’11) and Sam Redmond (’11) were standouts as midfielders this fall, while John Hogan (’11) also had a solid season there, as did Charlie Wall (’11), Emmett Knowlton (’11) and Sean Connors (’12), who will also serve as one of next year’s co-captains along with Kurt Heise (’12).
And speaking of leadership, Flaska felt fortunate to have had the four captains that led this year’s squad. “We had four outstanding captains this season in Hunter Huebsch, Alex Ward, Sam Redmond and Jim Bitter,” acknowledged Flaska. “Their leadership abilities were exceptional … they took the younger kids under their wing and helped them mature both on and off the field and it played a huge part in our success this year.”
Bob York is a Recorder wire editor. His e-mail address is email@example.com.
For photos of the boys varsity soccer season, click here.