By Seth Rabinowitz & Andrew Cramer
On Friday, September 30th, the boys of the Hillers Soccer Team scored the first victory of their Inter-Ac season by beating Germantown Academy 3-1. The rain and wind did not stop leading scorer and freshman Dane Harmaty from getting the ball in the net as he knocked in two goals, along with an assist. Luke Greenberg, a sophomore, helped the Devils secure the lead by knocking in a goal of his own with an assist from Harmaty.
Since beating GA, the Hillers have gone on to dominate the Haverford School, marking the second shutout of the season. The Devils beat the Fords 2-0, with an impressive performance and a confident appearance. They did, however, suffer a hard loss to Episcopal Academy on Friday, October 7th. Now, with a full two weeks of training and many Inter-Ac games in between, the Hillers are ready to once again take on GA.
The coaching staff along with senior captains Andy Stackhouse, Jack Lamb, and Malcolm Glendenning, have been working tirelessly since the summer to get the Devils in the best shape possible for the competitive Inter-Ac season. It takes dedication, perseverance, grit and brotherhood to perform as a successful team, and these values are drilled into every Hillers Team member constantly, both on and off the field.
Although the team has not won the league since 2007, new Head Coach Brian Zalasky is hoping to push the program in a new direction, one that will take them closer to an Inter-Ac championship. Coach Zalasky’s experience in other soccer programs, as well as his time as both the SCH junior varsity coach and the assistant varsity coach, should help the Hillers reach their goals this year.
Besides being the head coach, Zalasky is also one of the Upper School Deans and a dedicated English teacher. But despite his busy schedule, we were able to ask him a few questions to better understand the upcoming matchup with GA and the team’s trajectory.
How do you think your team has competed so far in the Inter-Ac?
I think the team has proved to be tough to beat thus far in the league. We are
talented from top to bottom and usually have a wonderful work ethic. Any time you have a group of players who are willing to put in the effort as well as continue to develop their talent, you will have a team that has a shot at doing well in the Inter-Ac. That said, we are only three games into the league season, and we have a long way to go. The next couple of games will truly determine what type of shot we have to compete with the likes of EA.
What is the Hillers best strength while out on the field, and how has it affected their playing?
There are two qualities that I think have proved beneficial: (1) The team’s selflessness in and around goal, and (2) the team’s unity and pride when defending our net. When a team can be selfless and work for each other, they will usually find success. In addition, the boys want our program to be about family and brotherhood; if that is our intention, and we consciously seek it and put our efforts toward that core belief, then selflessness and unity will be unavoidable (and that’s my job as the coach to remind the boys that we are striving for that brotherhood above all else).
What concerns do you have for the upcoming game against Germantown Academy?
I’m a worrier. It’s an inherited and learned trait, so I usually have a laundry list of concerns when it comes to an opponent. With respect to GA, I’m most concerned about how they will respond after we beat them 3-1 at their home field on the opening day of league play. They will be aiming to take us down, and you can bet that they will study the mistakes they made against us.
That said, being a worrier, I understand how important preparation is to my job. And while I cannot control how an opponent plays or what skills and talents they possess, I can control how our team prepares. We will choose to be prepared and will accept the responsibility if we’re not prepared for a team that has the ability to string passes together, to be physical, and a team that will be chomping at the bit to get a win on our field during our Homecoming.
What are you and the team doing to prepare both physically and mentally for the game?
We don’t want to change too much of what we normally do. Physically things will be the same. Mentally we need to be ready for what I outlined above.
With preparation and luck our SCH Blue Devils will pull off another huge win against Germantown Academy and move one step closer to an Inter-Ac title. Good luck Hillers!