Injuries hampering New Albany boys' progress
New Albany High School boys soccer coach Ben Arthurs began the season hoping to adapt the team's style of play to fit the strengths of a large contingent of juniors on the roster.
However, injuries have made that problematic.
"We've been without some players and that definitely has been damaging to us," Arthurs said.
"It's not the only impact, but it has been a huge impact. We have our system and we're getting used to playing the style we want. But being plagued with injuries, it's hard to be competitive against the tough teams we've seen."
New Albany was 2-5 overall and 1-1 in the OCC-Capital Division before facing Delaware in a league game Sept. 11.
The Eagles started the season without junior midfielder Loren Albritton, who had surgery in the offseason and, during the preseason, tweaked the knee he was rehabbing. His return is scheduled for mid- to late-September.
"Hopefully we can use him soon," Arthurs said. "But it's going to have to be incrementally. I don't want to over-exhaust him as he's coming back."
Another junior midfielder, Yuval Greenshtein, suffered a concussion during a 2-0 loss to Thomas Worthington on Aug. 21.
Missing a couple key parts has strained the Eagles' offense.
Distribution from the middle to the forwards has been a problem, and the team scored no goals during a four-game losing streak that began with Thomas and continued with a 1-0 loss to Kilbourne on Aug. 23, a 2-0 loss to Olentangy Orange on Aug. 28 and a 4-0 loss to Olentangy Liberty on Aug. 30.
The streak was broken with a 6-1 win over Franklin Heights on Sept. 4.
"We're doing OK on the flank," Arthurs said. "But up the middle we've had some issues."
Against Liberty, senior midfielder Nathan Loos sprained an ankle and junior defender Tristan Lyles suffered a mild concussion.
Senior Kareem Amr and junior Jorge Rosas have been filling in in the midfield while freshmen Austin Bray and Cameron Campbell have received time on defense.
Greenshtein returned to the lineup in a 2-1 loss to Pickerington North on Sept. 8, although he was limited to 35 minutes of play in three shifts.
"He really added a lot to our defense and offense," Arthurs said.
Albritton, Loos and Lyles could be back as soon as the Eagles' game at Westerville North on Thursday, Sept. 13, according to Arthurs.
While the first half of the season didn't go according to plan, Arthurs remains optimistic.
"I'm exited to maybe be on a roll going into the postseason," he said. "That's what it's all about.
"I'm looking forward to being full strength and having our system down. I think we're going to be strong."