Motivational talk inspires Reynoldsburg boys
Senior Alec Everts of the Reynoldsburg High School boys soccer team is ready to take on the struggles his team has been enduring.
Coming off a season in which they won a Division I district championship, the Raiders were outscored 13-3 while losing three of their first four games this year. Despite the team's start, Everts likes the way his teammates responded after a series of motivational talks by the coaches following a recent practice.
"Our assistant coach gave us a long speech about life and our head coach (Justin Lewis) talked to us and just inspired a lot of the underclassmen to work harder," said Everts, a midfielder and forward who was named ThisWeek Super 12 honorable mention a year ago. "When we were having our cool-down, I had a couple of guys come up to me and say they were going to step up."
Injuries to a pair of key defenders, seniors Dino Seketa and Matt Takacs, contributed to Reynoldsburg's rough start to the season. Takacs suffered a concussion in a 4-0 loss to Grove City on Aug. 28 and Seketa is out for the season with a knee injury.
Having to battle through injuries isn't a new experience for Everts, who had an ankle injury as a freshman and a concussion as a sophomore.
"We're just trying to stay focused and work on our weak spots," Everts said. "It's just been a lot of little things. I'm trying to lead the team as much as I can because not too many guys have stepped up yet. I just need to step up and get it rolling."
According to Lewis, the play of sophomore goalkeeper John Wallake through four games wasn't as bad as the number of goals the Raiders allowed would indicate.
Wallake had four saves in a 3-1 win over Westerville North on Aug. 21, as Everts, junior midfielder Isaac Kolevski and junior midfielder/forward Antonio Nocevski scored.
"Right now, it's just a combination of things," Lewis said. "We have a lot of new guys stepping into new roles and it's just a matter of timing and guys meshing together. We have a lot of guys with a lot of talents; it's just putting it all together.
"The big thing sticking out to myself is the overall level of commitment we're showing defensively. They need to be sprinting back on defense and winning tackles. Right now, somebody needs to step up. I'm confident that we'll improve and we'll get back on track. Right now, there's just no consistency."