Whenever Daniel Hartman took to the pitch in 2017, opposing defenses recognized.

Teams needed to double and triple cover Hartman when he gained possession of the ball, knowing that one slip-up could cost them a goal.

This fall, Hartman, a junior at Seymour High School, was nothing short of brilliant on the attack.

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The forward netted 27 goals — two shy of the school year for a season — and added seven assists for 61 points through 18 games with the Owls.

Hartman managed a point in 15 games this fall, and scored in 12 contests.

He managed hat-tricks against Brown County, Whiteland, Madison and Bedford North Lawrence, and tallied at least two goals in nine games.

With 44 career goals through three seasons of varsity play, Hartman is 12 away from the school record for a career.

He led the Hoosier Hills Conference in both points and goals and was top-five in assists.

While the team exited the postseason in the second round of sectional, Hartman remains sixth in the state for Class 3A in goals and seventh for points.

The Owls finished 13-4-1 on the season with the help of Hartman’s efforts.

“I thought I got better because I started playing smarter and harder,” Hartman said. “Playing hard is one thing, but when you also play smart you start getting results.”

For all of his accomplishments this season, The Tribune has named Hartman the 2017 Boys Soccer Player of the Year.

Going into the season, Hartman and his coaches expected big numbers.

“When you look at the first two games (a combined seven goals scored), it was a pretty good indication,” Owls coach Matt Dennis said. “He had a remarkable goal against Columbus East, and if he’s hitting things like that I don’t know that there’s anyone that can stop him. Throughout the year he scored more and more goals and more defenders were put on him. he was able to fight through it.”

Hartman felt like he played at his best against East.

“The Columbus East game, I thought I dominated them,” Hartman said. “I heard the East players saying they needed to mark No. 8. Scoring a goal and getting an assist, I thought I played well.”

With other teams catching on to Hartman’s skill, he adapted to playing more off his teammates as the season went on.

“(Hartman) got some assists, he was bringing some other guys into the attack,” Dennis said. “Towards the end of the year he started coming in deeper into the midfield to help win the ball further back. He was winning the ball and getting the ball up to other guys that weren’t him. He just did a tremendous job all year of rising to the occasion of whatever the other team threw at him.”

As a team captain, Hartman felt he needed to give more to the team this season.

“Getting captain, I needed to step up my game,” Hartman said. “I think I did this season. All of the guys around me stepped up when I stepped up. We were all so close. They’re all my brothers to me.”

Hartman was named both All-Hoosier Hills Conference first team and All-District. He will compete with fellow teammate Elliott Clark, the Owls’ senior keeper, at the All-State Showcase on Nov. 18.

Dennis said it’s a huge honor for Hartman to be nominated All-District.

“When you look at All-District teams, there are a lot of seniors, a few juniors and maybe a special sophomore,” he said. “To be recognized in our district, with the Evansville and Bloomington schools, it speaks highly of him and our program. I think teams recognize that Seymour is a quality program. For him and Elliott both to be recognized, and get a chance to compete against the state’s best, is going to be amazing to watch.”

Moving forward, Dennis looks for even more leadership from Hartman.

“We talk a lot about how to lead,” Dennis said. “Most of my conversations with him weren’t’ about scoring this season. It was about him becoming a leader, and his demeanor. We had another conversation at the end of the season about what he needs to do to bring guys in. He’s growing as a leader, soccer player and man. I’m proud of all of those things.”

All-County team

Joining Hartman on the 2017 All-Jackson County boys’ soccer team:

Elliott Clark, Seymour, senior, goalkeeper

Goal saves: 65

Shutouts: 8

Other: All-HHC first team, All-District first team, will play in All-State Showcase games, SHS Defender of the Year.

Ethan Greene, Seymour senior, defense

Goals: 1

Assists: 6

Other: All-HHC second team.

Cole Fosbrink, Seymour, junior, defense

Goals: 1

Assists: 9

Other: All-HHC second team.

Tyler Penegar, Seymour, junior, forward

Goals: 10

Assists: 1

Other: All-HHC second team.

Zach Moore, Seymour, senior, defense

Goals: 3

Assists: 2

Other: 4-year varsity player.

Carter Wait, Seymour, senior, midfield

Assists: 5

Other: SHS Midfielder of the Year, ISCA Top Team player.

Payton Reasoner, Seymour, junior, midfield

Goals: 1

Assists 1

Evan Baurle, Seymour, junior, midfield/defense

Goals: 1

Other: played seven different positions for the Owls

Blaine Spivey, Seymour, junior, midfield

Goals: 5

Assists: 4

Andrew Emily, Trinity Lutheran, senior, midfield

AJ Goecker, Trinity Lutheran, junior, forward

Trent Shoemaker, Trinity Lutheran, junior, forward

Noah Criswell, Trinity Lutheran, senior, midfield

Jacob Crockett, Trinity Lutheran, senior, defense

At a glance

2017 Jackson County Boys Soccer Player of the Year

Daniel Hartman, Seymour, junior, forward

Goals: 27

Assists: 7

Other: Hoosier Hills Conference first team, All-District first team, will play in All-State Showcase games, SHS attacker of the year and Most Valuable Player, two goals of school record for a season and 12 short for a career.

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Jordan Morey is sports editor at The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at jmorey@tribtown.com or 812-523-7069.