With two weeks left in the regular season, Hinsdale South is still searching for its first win. Senior co-captain Lucas Carlson tries to stay positive.
“It’s really frustrating, but you have to play every game,” Carlson said.
The Hinsdale resident is the sweeper on defense for the Hornets. He is the last field player to protect goalkeeper Alec Carpenter, a senior and the other co-captain.
Hinsdale South lacks offensive pressure to attack most of its opponents, so with Carlson and Carpenter the Hornets must rely on defense. The strategy worked against Lake Park on Saturday in Roselle, but the Lancers scored the game’s only goal on a penalty kick with 20:13 remaining in the game.
Junior Anthony Passi took the penalty kick for Lake Park (13-1-4) after the Hornets were apparently charged with interfering a Lancers’ player in the penalty area. Passi’s goal was a low, line drive past Carpenter.
Hinsdale South (0-13-1) took only two shots on goal, but didn’t allow too many quality scoring opportunities for the Lancers.
The only tie of the season for the Hornets came Sept. 25 against East Aurora. The deadlock ended a nine-game losing streak to begin the season for Hinsdale South.
“I didn’t think we would be struggling this much,” Carlson said. “I definitely think we have talent and I definitely think we could be doing better than we are playing right now.”
Hinsdale South’s struggles on offense means there is more pressure on players such as Carlson and Carpenter. In front of Carlson, Hinsdale South’s defenders include Austin West, Mykolas Meilus and Daniel Jaworski.
For Carlson, his favorite practice drill is heavy on conditioning and defensive skills.
“Every practice we do a drill called ‘Shape.’ We stay in shape by passing the ball around so we can keep our defense,” Carlson said. “[In games], we just play defense and counter attack.”
Hornets coach James Van Denburgh likes the effort from his team despite the poor record. As the defensive leader, Carlson much play a big role in keeping teammates focused on each game.
“Lucas keeps them in line because he’s the sweeper,” Van Denburgh said.”He’s shifting and playing defense. He brings a good laugh and a quick smile to practice, which also lightens the heavy mood sometimes. We are definitely focused every single day [trying to] get better.”
The Hornets earned the No. 16 seed in the Class 3A Lyons Sectional out of 16 teams. Hinsdale South will play top-seeded and No. 1-ranked Morton in the playoff opener Oct. 21 at Morton. The Mustangs already defeated Hinsdale South in the Red Devil Cup Sept. 4.