BY DANIEL LOCKE
FOR THE OBSERVER
The Opelika boys soccer team has enjoyed one of the best starts in the program’s recent history this season. The Bulldogs are 8-2 and have been looking like a title contender early.
Head coach Derek Hovell gave his thoughts on the team’s performance so far this season.
“I’m excited for the guys,” Hovell said. “They are playing tough and battling in close games, continuing to find ways to win. They are off to one of the best starts in the last decade.”
Having key players step up and lead the team is one of the biggest things a coach can attribute to their team’s success, and Hovell is no different. He talked about the players who have had the biggest impact on the Bulldogs’ success so far this season.
“Eduardo Moran has been solid in goal,” Hovell said. “He has made some impressive saves and kept us in the close games so far. Nathan Faison has been dominant in the midfield. He’s positioned in more of a defensive midfield role but has shown great vision and awareness attacking. He has scored 5 goals and has 10 assists so far.”
Opelika has gotten its season started off strong, however, there have been some challenges that the team has had to overcome and some that are ongoing. Hovell highlighted what some of these challenges have been.
“We had a couple guys go down with injuries earlier in the season,” Hovell said. “They have been out for the last few weeks. Several players have stepped up into those roles during that time and have done well but we are looking forward to them getting back into action.”
No matter how good a team is playing, there is always room for improvement. The Bulldogs are no exception. But in a region as tough as theirs, they will have to constantly be looking for areas to improve. Hovell highlighted some of the specific improvements that he would like to see.
“First, We need to get back healthy,” Hovell said. “With Spring Break this week, that should give our guys some time to rest and heal up. Secondly, I’d like for us to control the tempo of the game a bit better. We have been in several close games and found a way to win most of them. So
I’d like for us to start controlling the pace of play.”
The Bulldogs will be back in action on the road against Saint James on March 30.