For The Triubne
The new turf soccer field at Seymour High School was dedicated Saturday following an intrasquad scrimmage which involved the boys and girls teams.
Members of the school administration and school board members received balls autographed by the team captains and coaches, from the captains and coaches. They then had an opportunity to kick the balls into a net for a goal.
“It’s really empowering,” Owls senior Grace Hartman said. “It gives me a sense of unity with the school that they’ve been trying to instigate in all the sports teams, and I think the placement of it on campus will draw a lot more student attention to the soccer games.
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“It really gives me joy to feel that the soccer team is finally getting recognized, that we’re finally getting somewhere in the world because the progress and the leaps and bounds we’ve made since Day One is incredible.
Seymour senior Mason Pottschmidt said he is making the adjustment from grass to the turf.
“I enjoy the challenge of the new surface,” he said. “I think it adds a new aspect to our play that we can definitely utilize it to our advantage. We like to play wide and with our overlapping runs from the outside backs, those really help us and play into what the coaches have set up for our team.
“The turf is faster so you have to play closer to the mans’ feet and into the space. You have to practice playing with the right pace, and make sure it doesn’t go out of bounds. You can’t have costly errors like that.”
Girls coach Greg Musser and boys coach Matt Dennis also said they look forward to the home matches this fall.
“I think the facility is great,” Musser said. “As I’ve said before it’s a very true roll for us out here. We were talking to the girls after that first 40 minute segment and asked them how many ‘through’ balls they played. I think I could have counted them on one hand, whereas in previous years every single game we played it seemed that was our only attacking mechanism.
“It was nice with this surface to see them possess the ball, move it up and not make 30- or 40-yard runs, and I think that is going to conserve our energy and make us a much better squad, so I think the turf really played to that for us.”
This season, Musser is looking forward to a team-orientated offense.
“That’s the goal for us, to possess the ball, let the other teams chase us, teams that aren’t going to be used to this turf with the heat and the humidity that’s on it,” Musser said. “We’re going to wear them out. That’s going to be a good strategy at times for us.
“There’s going to be some teams we play that play on turf, they’re going to be used to it, and we may change tactics, but overall I think this is going to be a great home field advantage for us.”
Scrimmages rotated every 40 minutes between the boys and girls teams.
“We were talking again at the second 40 minutes that the intensity picked up,” Musser said. ‘Our goalies are coming out, and sliding and creating contact and collisions, which we like to see. We told them if you can be physical with your teammates, you’re going to be with other teams, and it’s going to be good for us.
“I was really impressed with that in the second 40 minutes, the physicality that we picked up and the whole 80 the possession was very nice for us.”
For the boys, Dennis wants the team to focus on possession in games.
“We’re still going to be a possession-based team,” Dennis said. “We’re still going to be able to string together passes. We’ll be able to play a little faster, which I think will help us, but our style will remain the same, and I think the turf is going to help with it.
“We’re still getting used to the pace. There were times the ball ran out of bounds, and we weren’t ready for the ball to roll as far as it did. Our combination play was getting all right. When we played with our feet we looked pretty good.”
Dennis was pleased with the competitiveness in the scrimmage.
“I thought our intensity was really nice today,” he said. “The boys have been working hard, and I think you saw that today with the challenge and the speed of the runs we made.”
Tuesday’s boys game scheduled against Brown County has been moved to Sept. 26.
The first game on the new field will be on Saturday. The boys team hosts Whiteland.