Huskies turning corner

A Huskies player goes for a bicycle kick against Croton-Harmon. The Huskies have a tough stretch coming up against non-league teams.

A Huskies player goes for a bicycle kick against Croton-Harmon. The Huskies have a tough stretch coming up against non-league teams.

By MIKE SMITH
On Sept. 28, Harrison took on visiting Croton-Harmon in varsity soccer action, downing the Tigers 3-0 in a well-earned win. The victory, just Harrison’s second on the year, is the latest proof that the Huskies are starting to turn things around
after a rough stretch to begin the
season.

Leonidas Velasquez scored twice against Croton, leading Harrison to the win. The Huskies, who started off the season with five straight losses, have gone 2-0-1 in their past three games.

“I think we’re starting to gel as a team,” head coach Matt Pringle said. “We faced the same situation last year with a lot of new players, and it just took us some time.”

Sophomore Alejandro Heinreich marks his man on Sept. 28. Harrison has been playing up-tempo soccer the last few games and has won two of their last three contests.

Sophomore Alejandro Heinreich marks his man on Sept. 28. Harrison has been playing up-tempo soccer the last few games and has won two of their last three contests.

The 2013 Huskies feature a number of players from last year’s JV squad, paired with several transfer students. It hasn’t been easy getting everyone on board with the style Harrison hopes to play, Pringle said, but he’s starting to see flashes‑such as those in the Croton game‑of what Harrison can look like when everything is clicking.

“I liked the intensity level and the tempo. The kids starting to buy into the style,” Pringle said. “We’re starting to play smarter and we’re more focused on possessing the ball.”

Leonidas Velasquez scores the first goal against Croton-Harmon on Sept. 28. Velasquez netted two scores on the day. Photos/Bobby Begun

Leonidas Velasquez scores the first goal against Croton-Harmon on Sept. 28. Velasquez netted two scores on the day. Photos/Bobby Begun

One of Harrison’s transfers, senior Rafael Urunaga, has been a true catalyst for the Huskies this year in the midfield. Despite playing just his first season of varsity soccer, Urunaga has proven himself to be a skillful playmaker, whose distribution skills have paved the way for Huskies’ goals.

“Our attack is a team effort, but a lot of it runs through Rafael in the midfield,” Pringle said. “He can move the ball, and then Leonidas sits up top and can benefit from that.”

Harrison seems to be hitting its stride at the right time with some tough non-league contests looming on the horizon. In the next week, Harrison will match up with a powerful Port Chester squad as well as a solid team from Horace Greeley.

 

Senior transfer Rafael Urunaga tries to control the ball against Croton-Harmon. Urunaga has been a revelation in the midfield and is Harrison’s top distributor on the year.

Senior transfer Rafael Urunaga tries to control the ball against Croton-Harmon. Urunaga has been a revelation in the midfield and is Harrison’s top distributor on the year.

“We have a very tough non-league schedule and that’s how we set it up,” Pringle said. “We play in a Class B league, but we’re going to play against Class A teams in the postseason, so this is a good test for us.”

In order to continue their hot play against top opposition, Pringle said the Huskies will have to keep on doing what they’ve been doing for the past week.
“We have to play faster, keep the tempo up,” he said. “Port Chester is a great side; they’re well-coached and disciplined, so we have to play solid defense. If we’re lunging in and playing undisciplined, it’s going to be a tough game.”
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About Mike Smith

Mike Smith has been with Hometown Media Group since 2007, serving as the company’s Sports Editor. Mike has been commended for his work by the New York Press Association, winning awards in 2008 for “Best Sports Feature” and again in 2009 as part of a team that put together “The Game,” a breakdown of the Harrison-Rye football rivalry, which won for “Best Special Section.” His weekly column, “Live Mike,” offers his unique insights into a broad range of topics in the sports world. He resides in Eastchester, N.Y. and spends most of his free time serving as the player-manager for a competitive men’s baseball team in New York City. Reach Mike at 914-653-1000 x22 or sports@hometwn.com; follow him on Twitter @LiveMike_Sports.