Hawks trying to stay positive during rough stretch
By Seth Hancock
Bartlett has had a brutal schedule so far this season.
After a 1-1 tie in the Hawks season opener against Elgin, Bartlett lost five straight games to teams with a combined record of 20-5-2 while outscoring their opponents 75-30.
That schedule didn’t get any easier on Saturday when the Hawks traveled to Dundee-Crown for a nonconference game. The Chargers entered the game 7-0 overall and had outscored their opponents 25-2.
The losing streak hit six games as Bartlett dropped the match 2-0, but coach Ben Beary feels this tough stretch will make his squad better.
“It’s at the point where you have young men battling game in and game out, and it can be a blow to their egos,” Beary said.
“I do worry about them getting frustrated, but they have to understand that this will make them stronger. I think they understand that, and they’re keeping their heads up.”
Beary added: “We’re not losing to slouch opponents.”
The game was decided in the first half as Chargers senior Eduardo Arellano scored both goals in the opening 40 minutes, the first with 17:58 left on the clock and the second with 6:03 left before the break.
Dundee-Crown outshot Bartlett (0-6-1) by a 12-5 margin in the first half, and six of those Chargers shots were on goal against Hawks goalkeeper Andrew Nowak (6 saves).
It was Nowak’s second game of the season in for normal starting keeper Justin Busch, who is out of town.
The Hawks did have some scoring chances in the first half, with the best coming in the final minute.
With 23.2 seconds left on the clock, Joe Butler threw the ball into Mike Parzy who took a header shot that led to a Bartlett corner, and Juan Garcia’s kick from the left corner went to Andrew Gott near the right post but his point-blank shot went right to the Dundee-Crown goalie.
Gott also had a shot that went just high earlier in the half and teamwork between Parzy and AJ Santori as well as between Butler and Marcus Singleton led to a couple strong attacks that ended without a shot.
Igor Zwada was a constant threat on the attack throughout the game.
“Igor had a lot of chances but the balls that were played to him were just a little bit too vertical,” Beary said.
The second half was more evenly-played with both teams getting five shots off. Tony Estanislao got a shot on goal in the first 10 minutes of the half, Zwada had a steal and attempt on goal with 25:52 left to play and Singleton got a shot on goal with 12:45 left to play.
Although the Hawks were unable to find the net, Beary feels his team is right on the cusp of breaking out offensively.
“We’ve got to adjust,” Beary said. “We’re breaking through on the attack, but we have to adjust the angles on our passes and our shots.”
Beary said his offense needs to be a little more creative and do a little better job on the transition.
“We’ve just got to improve some of those technical skills, but that’s something we can work on and get done,” Beary said. “We’re getting better.”
Led by defensive captain Butler, the Hawks backline has the most experience on the squad. Josh Merkel had a few nice defensive plays in the game while Gott and Christian Valle had some quality minutes in the back with Butler.
“Something we’ve been working on is communicating better with each other in the back and closing the gaps when our opponent is on the attack,” Butler said. “I think we did a better job with that today, especially in the second half.
“We started off with some tough teams this year and we’ve got a lot of younger guys on the team. I think they are getting a lot better because of who we’re playing. I think we’re adjusting in the games, and we saw some good scoring chances as the game went on today.”
“We played 40 minutes of shutout soccer in the second half, which I was pleased with,” Beary said. “Now, we have to find a way to play 80 minutes of shutout soccer. We’re still looking for our first shutout and I think it’s coming.”