Junior midfielder making major waves for Owls


Each time he possesses the ball in the center of the field, prepare for a show.

Daniel Hartman owns an arsenal.

Whether it’s spinning out a defender for a breakaway, flicking a pass with the back of his heel to a teammate or rifling a shot from distance, Hartman is getting it done on the pitch.

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Through the first six games of the season, the junior attacking midfielder scored an outlandish 11 goals and tallied four assists for the Seymour boys soccer team.

He added an assist in a win against Jeffersonville on Tuesday and two goals at Franklin on Saturday.

In his sophomore season, Hartman had 11 goals and one assist. As a freshman, Hartman, who started from the get-go, had six goals and four assists.

“I think that I’ve personally made a jump, but I also think that the team has made a jump,” Hartman said. “Last year, we couldn’t score for some reason, but we’re scoring a lot this year.”

The Owls (7-0-1) have won all but one game by two goals or more this season.

So far, Hartman has four multigoal games.

He opened the season with three goals against Brown County and followed with four versus Whiteland. In the Owls’ second time playing Whiteland, in the championship game of the Batesville Invitational, Hartman netted two.

Owls coach Matt Dennis said Hartman is playing with more confidence and IQ this season on the offense end of the field.

“He has a better mentality in front of the net,” Dennis said. “Last year, he passed on some shots. Last year, he dribbled himself out of some opportunities where he could have hit the ball sooner. I told him last year that the hole you have to hit the ball through only has to be as wide as the ball. He didn’t need the perfect shot or touch.

“He scored a goal against Whiteland that he admitted he mishit it, but that’s OK. He challenged himself to put the ball between the pipes, and it happened to go in for him. I think last year, he wouldn’t go for that shot. I think he’s looking at the goal a little better.”

Hartman, a captain, has gotten much more involved with his teammates this season.

“First, he will show you with his effort,” Dennis said. “Second, he’s one who will talk. If you listen when we play, (goalie) Elliott Clark and Hartman won’t shut up. That’s a good thing. I think they’re doing that well as captains.

“I think that really helps everyone figure out their role and what they’re thinking. Once everyone buys in to the attacking pattern and communicating on the field, good things will happen. Dan his been in there to help make sure that happens.”

Dennis said ball movement has helped the Owls feed Hartman and Tyler Penegar, who has the second-most goals on the team with six.

“(Hartman) has had a lot of great service in,” Dennis said. “I think all 11 of his goals were assisted. He does a great job of putting the ball where it needs to be to create a better situation for the team.”

Penegar, who came off of the bench last season, has worked well with Hartman up top.

“I think we’re working well together because we’re not just friends in practice but outside practice,” Hartman said. “I think we communicate well with each other.”

Dennis said the juniors pushed each other over the summer to be better.

“I think Tyler has helped (Hartman) tremendously,” Dennis said. “When we have Tyler up there with Dan, we have two guys who are blazing fast.”

Dennis said teams know Hartman and will double- and triple-team him in games.

That’s when Dennis looks for Hartman to kill teams with his passing.

“Against Scottsburg, I asked him to look for assists first,” Dennis said. “We know guys are going to mark him. We know he’s going to draw three defenders at times. That’s the moment where he needs to get an assist.

“He understood that really well against Batesville. His assist was phenomenal. He took a touch, drew three and found the open run on a back heel. He knew Blaine (Spivey) was there and tapped it in. I think it was at that moment he truly understood there’s an opportunity to get assists when you draw defenders.”

With the Hoosier Hills Conference schedule heating up, scoring and assisting will only get tougher as the season presses on.

“We’re a good team,” Dennis said. “I know that we’ve had some good summer results, and other teams are looking at us. I think we’ve surprised some other teams. I know other teams are marking Seymour as a game, and I think our guys need to challenge each other every practice to make sure we’re on the same page and try to get creative. Hopefully in October, we’re better than we were in August.”

Hartman said he’s having a lot of fun this season, “just being with my teammates, getting chocolate milk after practice and playing in an amazing atmosphere.”

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