Losses to Rockford and Bethany Academy last week were hard to swallow for the Mayer Lutheran boys’ soccer team. The Crusaders are 0-4 this season.
Rockford 5, Mayer 0
“Rockford outclassed us, plain and simple,” head coach Josh Hanley said of the team’s Sept. 6 loss.
The Crusaders held on in the first half only trailing 2-0 at halftime. But the second half brought a Crusader meltdown, according to Hanley, who blames himself for not preparing the team well enough. He said the game was rough to watch, as Rockford scored three additional goals in the second half.
“Sometimes that happens, they’re still young guys,” Hanley said.
Bethany 6, Mayer 0
Things looked marginally better on Sept. 8 as the Crusaders fell to Bethany Academy. It was a pretty rough and tumble game, according to Hanley, who said neither he nor the Bethany coach were pleased with the lack of officiating. He said many calls were missed that could have led to serious injuries. Losing one player mid-game to a possible concussion, the Crusaders battled on with only 10 players.
Hanley said the team didn’t take any steps backward in the loss, but “when you lose players, bad things happen.”
The one thing Hanley was impressed with was the level of athletic ability in his players, something he aimed to prepare them for early in the season.
“Our fitness is ridiculous this year,” he said. “We can run all day long.”
With dwindling numbers on the team, Hanley said it is tough not having substitutes and the team must play a very well-disciplined game in order to succeed. The Crusaders hope to pick up a player or two in the coming weeks, with the anticipated return of senior Chase Greenhagen, who has yet to play this season. Hanley said there are two goals moving forward – keep them healthy and keep them motivated.
Despite the hardships of this season, and in particular the last week, Hanley said the team has already immensely improved over the 2011 season.