Undefeated and Virtually Unchallenged
Men's soccer allows only one goal in first 11 games
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Ranked third in the state, the men’s varsity soccer team remains undefeated 12 games into the season after posting a 13-6-2 record last season.
Shaker extended their streak to 12-0 with 3-0 victory over the Eastlake North Rangers Oct. 1
Junior Malik Joseph said that the keys to winning will be “maintaining our morale… going into every game like we are down.” Since the start of the season, Joseph has noticed that the team has “better chemistry, more pride . . . We support each other in and out of school.”
Joseph said the Raiders’ collaboration sets them apart from others in the Greater Cleveland Conference. “We work well together, Our team spirit is great,” he said, adding that because most of the team has been playing together since 10-year-old travel ball, teamwork is natural.
Along with the undefeated streak, Shaker also held a nine-game shutout streak, the tenth highest ever in Ohio for shutouts. It was not until the Raiders played the Normandy Invaders that they gave up their first goal.
Shaker went into the locker room trailing at halftime for the first time this season, and the team decided they would not lose. “This is not happening. This is a team we’re supposed to beat, so we’re gonna make it happen,” senior Andrew Roth said. “Our coach tells us as much as defense is responsible, it is also a whole team effort.”
“We constantly want to keep possession of the ball, and get it back and go on goal,” Head Coach Alan Naigeon said. Late in the Normandy game, Tristan Hart scored the go-ahead goal to help preserve the streak.
Naigeon said he stresses that players “have as much fun as possible together and be proud of representing their school and community.”
He also said that along with intense practices and hard work, “I think our depth is just ridiculous at this level. Every game we, sadly, have a few boys who don’t play much. Those same players would probably be starters in many other schools. That says much about our talent pool,” Naigeon said.
Shaker tests the win streak once more Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. at Brunswick High School.
“Overall, I believe that this year could be a milestone for our soccer program. I can see that the mentalities are changing,” Naigeon said. “Every year we are approaching games with more and more experience. Maybe every win helps, maybe our district titles help, I don’t know . . . but now Shaker kids want to be part of this team and they all want to play for Shaker Heights High School, which is great!”