“That’s our first goal and we talk about it at the beginning of every year,” said senior striker Hunter Merritt. “We want to go on a run, we want to win state and we want to do those things, but first and most importantly we have to take care of the here and now.
Seven Lakes has a number of goals this season.
The Spartans want to build off their historic year last year, where they made it to the Class 6A-State Semifinals, they want to prove they are one of the best teams in the state and they want to continue the legacy of the classes that came before them in the Spartans program.
But their first, and most important goal this year is their main focus right now is not on any of that, it’s on taking things a game at a time and defending the teams District 19-6A title, which the team has won three years running.
“That’s our first goal and we talk about it at the beginning of every year,” said senior striker Hunter Merritt. “We want to go on a run, we want to win state and we want to do those things, but first and most importantly we have to take care of the here and now. Our first thing we have to take care of is winning a district championship. We want to make it four straight and we don’t want that streak to end.”
The Spartans find themselves in prime position to be able to do that this season, returning a large amount of talent from last year’s team, especially on the attacking end.
That attacking prowess though has led teams to playing very defensive against the Spartans, and that’s exactly what the Spartans faced on Saturday as Mayde Creek came out in a defensive heavy lineup and played deep, clogging space in front of goal and trying to keep Seven Lakes off the score sheet.
But it was something that the Spartans prepared for, They had faced a Morton Ranch team that had deployed the same strategy on Tuesday and in practice after the game they had worked on ways to break down a compact back line.
That paid dividends, as the Spartant scored two goals in the first 14 minutes in what ended up being a 3-0 Seven Lakes victory over the Rams.
“You have to be patient when you’re going against a team in a 5-4-1 like they were,” said Seven Lakes head coach Jimmy Kreuger. “It can be frustrating to go up against and it can be tough to find those pockets of space you need. But when it opens you have to go quick, because as quick as it opens up it will close because the number of bodies there. We had moments where we did that today, we stayed patient, found the passing lanes and when the opportunity came to attack we did get a couple of goals.”
The Spartans first came from an own goal after Daniel Ejerenwa swung in a cross that was deflected into the back of the net in the 11th minute. Kortay Koc doubled the lead just three minutes later, playing a give and go with Jesus Duque, who played Koc in behind the Rams defense where he calmly put the ball past the Mayde Creek keeper.
Merritt sealed things in the second half when he took a cross from Aidan Morrison and headed it in to make things 3-0, as the Spartans were able to put a happy not on a rainy Saturday morning.
The Spartans had to replace all four of their back four from last season as well as their goalie, as every starter from the defense graduated, but the team has been up to the challenge, only allowing one goal through their first four district games.
“We knew that was big to fill those roles back there and we’ve constantly worked on it,” Morrison said. “We do whole things based on just the defense and everyone playing back thee has stepped up in a big way. I’m proud of the guys and the job they’ve been doing so far and I know we can build on it.”
The Spartans are 4-0 through their first four district games and are tied for first place in distict, but they know they have to keep improving and pushing if they are to achieve their goals.
“We just have to keep playing the way we play,” Morrison said. “We have to play our game and not fall into what other teams want us to do. And we can’t take any days off.”
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