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Soccer team fueled by skill & heart

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As the second half of the district semi-finals came to a close, it seemed as if the Yellow Springs High School boys soccer team might not pull off a victory. They had lost their lead, their goalkeeper and their top scorer, who moved into goal to stem an onslaught of Greeneview shots.

Then, three minutes before the final whistle, Bulldog assist-leader Grant Reigelsperger snuck a pass through a crowded Greeneview box to Ian Chick. Chick sent the ball into the back of the net and the Bulldogs to its fifth straight district finals appearance.

For departing coach Jim Hardman, the last-minute victory was typical for this year’s boys soccer team — a team that somehow always found a way to win.

“This team believed in themselves, and they played hard until the end,” said Hardman, who steps down as head coach after 11 years at the helm.

Against the Metro Buckeye Conference champion Dayton Christian in the district finals last weekend, the Bulldogs fought until the close of regulation but fell 8–0.

The young YSHS team finished 10–5–3 after losing their first two games. It was a season that exceeded expectations, according to senior captain Jacob Trumbull.

“We lost six seniors and started three freshman this year so making it to districts was our goal,” Trumbull said. The team did what it needed to win, he added.

“Everyone had a wide range of skills but mainly we played hard,” he said. “When we didn’t have the skill we just played through it with heart.”

Trumbull himself had an exceptional year. With 35 goals in regular season, he was first in the Metro Buckeye Conference in scoring, fourth in the Miami Valley, and earned first-team all-district honors.

It was Trumbull’s dramatic diving header in the Greeneview game that put the Bulldogs in a position to win. At the end of the first half, Trumbull connected with Jared Scarfpin’s soaring free kick to the far post to give his team a 1–0 edge.

Then YS keeper Eric Lawhorn, who made several impressive saves during the first half, was kicked in the hand during a challenge and Trumbull was sent to guard the Bulldog goal.

Trumbull repelled Greeneview’s offensive attacks long enough for Reigelsperger to connect with Chick for the game-winning goal. And Trumbull went on to start the district finals in goal as well.

“I was hoping to keep the score close in the first half, then bring [Trumbull] out on the field to generate more offense in the second,” Hardman said.

The Bulldogs did hold Dayton Christian to just two goals in the first half of the district finals before shifting their players to a 4–3–3 spread, which left their back line vulnerable. The older, more experienced Dayton Christian players added six goals as their shots consistently found their target.

Despite the loss, the season was a success, according to Hardman.

“I was pleased with what they did this season,” Hardman said. “Even though they were young, they’ve been playing together many years and there was a lot of camaraderie — they had each other’s backs.”

The Bulldogs were in contention for the Metro Buckeye Conference championship until the season’s last game against Dayton Christian. Under the lights at YSHS, the Bulldogs fell 4–1. They ended in second place in the conference with a 3–1–1 record.

Hardman praised Trumbull, a “game-changer” as well as teammates Jared Scarfpin, who held down the defense as sweeper, Reigelsperger for distributing the ball well, and Roland Newsome and Lawhorn. Newsome and Scarfpin additionally were honored as part of the second-team all-district.

Hardman, in his 32nd year as a YSHS soccer coach, will watch next season from afar. He moves to Denmark for two years. So far Ben Van Ausdal, Curt Butler and Bill Hardman have thrown their name in the hat for the head coach position.

Trumbull praised his four-year coach for inspiring the team to play its best.

“[Coach Hardman]’s halftime speeches always leave an impression on us,” Trumbull said. “He really brought us together as a team.”

Hardman will miss coaching a team that sometimes feels “like a second family,” he said.

“I’ll be their biggest Internet fan.”

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