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Sports Article
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Indians Remained Optimistic Despite One-Win Season
Written by Bradley Schlegel Correspondent

Upper Perk's Stephen Shelly chases down the ball during last Thursday night's game against Pope John Paul II at Upper Perk. The game was the final home game of the season.

                Stephen Shelly wasn't expecting his senior season with the Upper Perkiomen soccer team to feature huge accomplishments.  But Shelly, a team captain, said he expected the Indians to win more than one game. Still, the forward called it an enjoyable experience.  "The record was not so good," he said. "I was hoping to get a few more wins. But the season was fun."

                On Thursday, Upper Perkiomen played its final home game – and completed the Pioneer Athletic Conference portion of its schedule – with a 1-0 loss to Pope John Paul II.

                Ryan Milligan scored midway through the second half for the Panthers, who posted their first win of the season.

                Milligan converted a deflection off Indians goalkeeper Austin Geus from a shot by Luke DeLeo.  Geus finished with 15 saves for Upper Perkiomen (1-12, 1-16), which registered its only win of the season over Pope John Paul II on Sept. 11.

                The Indians, who also suffered an 8-0 loss to Pottsgrove on Tuesday, ended their season with 11 consecutive losses after a 3-0 loss to Christopher Dock on Friday.

                According to Shelly, the play signified Upper Perkiomen's defensive struggles.  "In the few close losses we had this season, no matter how hard the defense worked, the opposition always seemed to take advantage of a lucky bounce," he said.

                On Thursday, the Panthers dictated play. They finished with a 12-4 shot advantage and tested Geus several times.  "I thought our defense was fairly solid throughout the game," Shelly said. "One little mistake cost us. That's what has happened all year."

                The Indians' defensive style is conducive to allowing the opposition more possessions while utilizing counter attacks and long passes into offensive opportunities, according to first year head coach Kyle Fisher.                        "It's like parking a bus in the penalty box," he said.

                Upper Perkiomen's offensive problems were caused by an inability to finish around the opposition's goal, according to Fisher.  He said that in recent games, the team has been able to exert more offensive pressure. Against Pope John Paul II, the coach said he noticed tactical improvements.  "The backs are pressuring up on offense the way we want them to," Fisher said.

                In terms of effort, the coach said Upper Perkiomen's players have continued to give maximum effort despite the mounting losses.

                "The guys played hard," he said Thursday. "For the most part, no one on this team has quit. They have continued to give effort. They have worked as hard as they can."

                According to Shelly, seeing his teammates work hard helped to motivate him.  "The losses can get you down," he said. "But when I see the guys on the field hustle, and then when I see the guys on the bench who want to play, it can lift your spirits."

                Fisher expressed optimism about the team's future. He said next year's roster will feature nine or 10 current underclassmen with significant varsity experience.  "We're going to continue improving, so we should be a little better next year," the coach said. "It's a continual process."






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