Tomahawks boys’ soccer team possessing and learning

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Glastonbury - posted Thu., Sep. 22, 2011
GHS junior midfielder Evan Hassett (left) battles for the ball in a physical game vs. Manchester on Sept. 16. Photos by Steve Smith.
GHS junior midfielder Evan Hassett (left) battles for the ball in a physical game vs. Manchester on Sept. 16. Photos by Steve Smith.

Goalies on the Glastonbury High School boys’ varsity soccer team may become lonely this season. After just four games, the Tomahawks have allowed a total of one point (to Windsor, in a 1-1 tie on Sept. 19), while notching 4-0, 6-0 and 5-0 victories over Bristol Eastern, Manchester and East Catholic, respectively.

But, the clean score sheets are mostly a team effort, with Glastonbury’s forwards and middies dominating time of possession and peppering opposing keepers with shot after shot. Opponents are rarely getting chances to test GHS starting keeper Nick Crouch and his backups.

Coach Mark Landers said the formula that has always produced winning teams for him is the one he is still using, and this year's squad looks like they “get it.”

“We've been working on a lot of things,” Landers said. “Ball movement is one of them and movement off the ball is another.” Landers said that once his team goes ahead of opponents, the game becomes simpler.

“You make your life easy when you put some balls in the back of the net early,” he said. “The game becomes a possession game after that, and we're good at that, too.”

The Tomahawks don't take their early success for granted, and continue to work hard on improvement. “We've got a lot to work on,” Landers said. “Defending, set pieces and corner kicks – defensively, we've got to gel better. Communication is always a major factor with us. There's a long way we can go with it. Just moving the ball – getting the ball off your feet in two or three touches and making the proper runs – we're not very good at that right now. We've got to continue to get better, and we work on that every day.”

Landers said this year's team has not seen any superstars emerge, but it has been a group effort across the pitch so far. While maintaining its winning ways, the team is still not totally in sync, according to the coach.

“Collectively, the guys are still getting used to their roles,” he said. “I don't think they're comfortable in their roles yet. We've got a lot of guys in different positions that they haven't played before. As we play some games and get out on the field, the more comfortable we can become, but that's going to take a while.”

Landers said the team's priority is to win conference games (Manchester was the first). He added that the home field advantage of playing at GHS is always a boost for his team.

“We know we'll always get good fans here,” he said. “We always get tremendous support from the crowd, and it's important to us to play well at home.”

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