By MIKE SMITH
What has been a trying season for Harrison continued on May 5 when the Huskies fell 13-7 to a good Westlake team to drop to 4-8 on the season.
According to head coach Jon-Erik Zappala, it might just take one good game to propel his squad into playoff contention.
With just four games left this season, the Huskies realistically need to take two games to earn a postseason berth.
According to Zappala, Harrison is still looking to iron out some kinks as it rolls into the home stretch.
“We’re kind of in a slump, individually,” the head coach said. “We’ve been showing a lot of heart, but we’re still looking to find the chemistry we had in some games early in the season.”
Against Westlake, as well as Briarcliff on May 2, the Huskies have shown the ability to make in-game adjustments, the coach said, but often the team cannot make up enough ground, despite strong second-half efforts.
“Overall, I realistically think we could have six or seven wins,” he said.
Despite some frustration, he has been extremely pleased with the way his team has been able to incorporate all players–regardless of their grade–into the fold.
“We’ve got girls here from 8th graders to seniors,” he said. “I think our leaders, especially the seniors, have done a really great job getting the younger players on board, bringing them along.”
The team has been somewhat plagued by injuries this spring and is currently playing without defender Emma Smolev, who has missed the last couple of games.
“We haven’t had any really serious injuries, but losing Emma hurt,” Zappala said. “Not having her in the defensive end definitely caused some problems for us.”
The stretch run will not be an easy one for the Huskies. Starting on May 7, the Huskies will have four games in six days. Three of the games, one against Valhalla and two against Pleasantville, will have an impact on the league standings.
“If we win two games, we could make the playoffs, but it also matters where things shake out in terms of the league,” Zappala said. “Not only in terms of standings, but also the All-League decisions which are made by the coaches.”
If the Huskies are to make the playoffs, it would indicated this team is starting to get over some of the issues that have plagued them at points throughout the year, the coach said.
“This is a talented team,” he said. “I think it comes down to nerves. But it’s all about how you measure success, and I think this team has definitely grown throughout the season.”