Woodlawn Boys Soccer Exceeding Expectations in 2015

Woodlawn Photo #2

Woodlawn's first year head coach for boys soccer, Chris Harter, was a little nervous at the beginning of the 2015 season. Harter had been an assistant in 2014 when the team finished 2-9.

"I actually was concerned that we were going to do worse this year because we lost two very strong players," Harter said. "Although after the first couple of practices, I knew that we could become a force to be reckoned with."

Harter's analysis has proven to be correct. The Warriors have flipped their 2014 record, finishing the regular season 9-2.

A couple of the standouts for Woodlawn this year include forward Omar Tall and sweeper/stopper Yusuf Aliyu. Tall has been the team's main goalscorer, bagging an impressive 23 goals. A captain, Tall has been using his speed and skill with the ball to terrorize defenses all season.

Aliyu has been the team's rock in defense. Harter highlights his ability to use his body to move players off the ball as his biggest strength, as well as his competitiveness and willingness to compete against any striker.

"All of the players this year have played their hearts out every game," Harter said. "I couldn't ask for anything more as a coach."

The team's stamina has been one of the team's greatest strengths this season. Woodlawn is consistently able to outperform their opponents in the second half because of their conditioning. Harter tries his best to minimize the amount of down time for his players during practices- he wants them to be running as much as possible so that they can wear down their opponents once they get into game situations.

This was on display in Woodlawn's win over Carver A&T, one of the team's marquee victories of the season. The team went down 2-0 early in the first half due to their sloppy play, but came storming back after the team was able to reorganize. Woodlawn eventually went on to win the game 5-2.

Looking ahead Harter, along with assistant coach George Lewis, is hoping Woodlawn will be able to make an impact in the MPSSAA playoffs. The team has struggled to win at that stage in previous seasons, but this year has the potential to be very different.

"I am excited to give the guys a few days off to let them heal. We had a grueling schedule the last two weeks which included having games three days in a row which is very hard, even with my team's stamina," Harter said. "We also have a lot of nagging injuries that hopefully will heal up so that we are 100% for the playoffs."
October 22nd, 2015By: Wick Eisenberg

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