With a win in its first outing, the young Mechanicsburg boys’ soccer team looked to be gelling nicely under head coach Anthony Lougee.
That was prior to the Wildcats dropping their next two outings, including being shut out at the hands of Hershey, and falling under .500.
The boys then welcomed Bishop McDevitt for a home contest and the result was a 2-1 victory.
Alex Panuccio scored twice in that game, one off a pass from David Strausbaugh and the other unassisted.
Although the team couldn’t have known at the time, the victory was about to spark a small winning streak that could pay dividends down the line.
The team’s next contest was an overtime win over Gettysburg that their coach called a turning point in the short season.
“Probably the biggest turning point was when we fell behind at Gettysburg with less than nine minutes to play,” Lougee said. “We didn’t panic and change what we were doing, we just kept working hard and were able to score a goal to get to overtime. Then we got the game-winner.”
The overtime win showed resolve that most could have a hard time seeing. Not to say the team couldn’t do it, but when dealing with a young group of untested players, it often times takes a moment like that to show the team what kind of resolve they really have.
“Moving forward,” Lougee said. “We realize we probably won’t win them all, but we want to continue to improve as a team each game. We want to make sure we give our best effort each time out.”
The team’s next contest came with a more definitive 4-0 win over Susquehanna Twp. The team appeared to be growing in experience and confidence under their coach.
“The guys, on the whole, are relatively young and for many, this is their first season on varsity,” Lougee said of the team. “We haven’t had to make many adjustments as much as learning to play together and adjusting to individual roles on the field. I think it starts with the effort to defend, which involves every player on the field when we are playing.”
The team’s next challenge was passed with a 3-1 win over Lower Dauphin, to complete a four-game winning streak.
Under Lougee, the team appears to be coming together, and with a tough conference schedule they will need every bit of their self-confidence and mettle to keep moving in the right direction. It might not be this year, but if the team can keep things rolling, who knows. If the young group continues to gel, things could be looking bright for Mechanicsburg soccer.
BRETT CROSSLEY, The Patriot-News, September 29, 2009 2:07 p.m.
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