Undefeated junior varsity squad bodes well for future of program

No blemishes marked their final record.

Not even a draw.

The Seymour junior varsity boys soccer team finished with a record of 11-0 in 2016, and to varsity coach Matt Dennis’ knowledge, it’s the first time the JV team has gone undefeated without a tie in a season.

For third-year JV coach Greg Jones, a perfect record was unprecedented even though he expected success.

“We had about half the squad from the previous year back, and they were kids who typically came off the bench,” Jones said. “The other half of the team was coming off a travel team that had a decent season. I thought we would have a winning season, and that’s what I expected — I didn’t expect an undefeated season.

“In soccer, it’s one of those sports where it’s tough to go undefeated without a draw. It’s one of those that not always the best team wins the match. This squad, this year, I had no doubt almost every match that we were going to win.”

None of the JV players fielded minutes on the varsity squad on the season.

“If you look at other JV teams on the schedule, you play against several teams that play juniors and seniors on their JV squad,” Dennis said. “Our entire roster was sophomores and freshmen. They played against a lot of kids with more experience than them. I think that says a lot about what coach Jones has done.”

All three phases of the field proved to make the difference throughout the season.

With a stout keeper and back line, and 10 different players tallying goals on the season, the Owls showcased a balanced lineup.

“Everyone was pretty enthusiastic all season,” sophomore Caden Cardinal said. “We had a couple lineup changes this year, but everyone worked well as a squad.”

Seymour rolled throughout its campaign, giving up just four goals while scoring 38 on their opponents.

Of those 38 scores, 18 came off of assists.

Blaine Spivey led the team with 25 combined points, finishing with 12 goals and an assist.

“There were a few teams we were worried about because we lost to them last year,” Spivey said. “But we expected to do pretty well.”

A total of six goals were scored by Cameron Connell, and Brayden Trinkle and Keegan Sunbury each netted five each.

“We knew it hadn’t really been done,” Trinkle said of going undefeated. “We had a great season last year, and to do even better was really special. We’ve all known each other for a while. We know how to communicate with each other to get the job done.”

In goal, Patrick DeBoor recorded seven shutouts with 28 total saves.

“Pat had a great season, and that’s not to take nothing away from our defenders,” Jones said. “Our back six guys were just solid throughout the season. Pat made some unbelievable saves this season that he wouldn’t have made last year after splitting time his freshman year.”

While the team’s stats were loaded, Jones noted the intangibles that the team brought to the pitch night in and out.

“Looking back, one of their best strengths was their heart and toughness in how they played,” Jones said. “When it came game time, they were one of the most aggressive teams I ever coached. That and their heart were the best things going for them.”

With a handful of varsity spots opening up for 2017, a group of seven current sophomores will fight for time.

“JV is a largely developmental program,” Dennis said. “We want to make sure that they’re being competitive. Winning is important, but development is better. If you develop every week and win every game, that’s utopia. I don’t think they ever put winning as the top priority. Every kid played a lot of minutes.

“It’s the cliché that you don’t want to rebuild, you want to retool. I don’t think we have to be in rebuilding mode.”

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The path to an undefeated season:

Seymour 1, Whiteland 0

Seymour 2, Columbus East 1

Seymour 2, Jeffersonville 1

Seymour 2, Franklin 0

Seymour 6, New Albany 0

Seymour 2, Batesville 1

Seymour 5, Floyd Central 1

Seymour 3, Madison 0

Seymour 8, Jennings County 0

Seymour 2, Columbus North 0

Seymour 4, Bedford North Lawrence 0