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Farmington Hills

Harrison soccer team aims for league title, knows offense must be stronger

September 13, 2012

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Josh Brunett (13) moves the ball up field against Garden City. Brunett said a league title is one of the Hawks’ main goals.

It’s early still, and that’s a point Tim Russell will continue to stress.

His team is young, and that’s a fact Russell knows must be overcome.

But as the season moves forward and his players become more experienced, Russell holds on to the notion that 2012 could be very good for the Farmington Hills Harrison soccer team.

“Our goal right now is to win this division, which we feel is doable,” Russell said last week. “After that, the state title is something we’ve talked about, something we feel is possible. We know it won’t be easy, but that’s where the confidence of this team is.”

Ambitious, but Russell stood by his statements when pressed, especially the talk of a state title.

“We’ve graduated 20 guys from the teams the past few years, but the program has been real strong in rebuilding,” he explained. “The depth is a huge factor, even more so than I expected it to be. The development from the younger guys to varsity has been awesome.”

The keys, he added, center on a defense that’s been solid thus far and an offense that has to continue create scoring chances.

“We started off kind of rough on offense, being too complacent and predictable,” Russell said. “That was hurting us, because I really think it was as simple as not working hard enough to be more creative. The past few games we’ve changed that, shifted to a more exciting offense, and it’s worked well.”

“We’re still getting there,” junior forward Moussa Zaatar said. “This isn’t a team with a lot of finishers, so to speak, so cashing in when we get the chance is huge. But we’re getting there.”

Zaatar spoke during a Sept. 5 practice at the school. The night before, he and the Hawks played one of their most complete games yet, a 2-0 victory against Garden City High that Russell said could have very easily have been 7-0.

“The thing I loved is that we had a lot of quality chances,” he said after the win. “We got the starters some good work, and then got the rest of the team in. It was really the type of game you love as a coach.”

At press time, Harrison was 3-1-1.

“The league and city titles are something we’ve set our goals on,” junior defenseman Josh Brunett said. “We’ve got good players, guys that can really make a difference. We’re still working at it, but we’ll get there.”

The Hawks may not be great yet, but five games into any season, not many squads can claim greatness.

“This team has the ability to win the league, to win states and so on,” Russell boasted. “Truthfully, that’s something we haven’t had here in awhile. So to have it now, to see it and be part of it, it’s pretty exciting.”

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