Owls’ boys soccer team goes to UIndy camp

INDIANAPOLIS

Over the years, some members of the class of 2019 have grown up together on and off the pitch.

For 11 players on Seymour High School’s boys soccer team, this fall will see the culmination of thousands of hours of work they put in together.

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The Owls have 11 seniors on this year’s team, the largest single group of upperclassmen ever coached by Matt Dennis.

“We’ve had big senior classes before, but I’ve never had 11,” Dennis said. “It’s good and bad. They are guys who have played for me for many years and understand each other. The last couple years we’ve graduated about six guys, so you turn over of the team. Next year we will turn over of our team. It’s unique and has its pluses and minuses. We will find a way to make it beneficial for everybody.”

Wednesday through Friday, the Owls went to the University of Indianapolis for a team camp. It was the second straight year the program traveled to the university on the south side of Indianapolis and fourth consecutive time they attended a college camp.

“I love the UIndy coaches, they do a phenomenal job,” Dennis said. “The associate head coach, Shaun Mahoney, was my coach in high school (at Seymour). I was an assistant coach for him my first two years. I have a lot of respect for him. The other coaches that are here are also phenomenal people. It has been a really good experience coming back and working with the same staffs. This year we’ve gotten to learn a lot more about team culture and things like that. By coming back and listening to these people over and over again, we are understating more and more of what culture and training should be like.”

The Owls had a training session and team talk Wednesday before a busy Thursday. On Thursday, they had training and speed and agility sessions before doing some work in the classroom on nutrition and recovery. The coaches then had a forum with the UIndy staff before the Owls scrimmaged with East Central. Friday morning, the Owls finished with a scrimmage against Castle.

Dennis should pass Mahoney for most IHSAA wins at Seymour this season.

The Owls finished 13-4-1 overall — the best record for a Dennis-coached team — in 2017, which pushed Dennis to 67 career wins, tying him with Mahoney. The Owls finished fourth in the Hoosier Hills Conference last year by going 4-2-1.

Seymour’s high-flying, record-setting offense scored 61 goals last season, and they will return all of their attackers this fall.

The Tribune’s 2017 Player of the Year, Daniel Hartman, looks to break some school records before finishing his career.

The forward netted 27 goals — two shy of the school record for a season — and added seven assists for 61 points last year. Totaling 44 career goals through three seasons of varsity play, Hartman is 12 away from the school record for a career. He led the HHC in both points and goals and was top-five in assists.

“The team is coming together really well,” Hartman said. “We still have some little things to fix up, but overall we are doing great. I think we’re going to have a really good season.

“When we come (to UIndy), we see how we’re doing. We can play 8-versus-8 and small-sided games, but in the big matches against other people, we need to see how they are then.”

Next to Hartman up top, Tyler Penegar in 2017 scored 10 goals. Penegar scored two goals on Thursday against East Central.

While the team has a way to go, incoming senior Cole Fosbrink thinks the Owls are on the right track.

“This year we are trying out different formations,” Fosbrink said. “This was a great game (against East Central) to practice them. We just need to keep working on it. I think our outside play is our best strength.”

In goal, Patrick Deboor replaces Elliott Clark, who will soon start playing for Franklin College.

“I think (Deboor) learned a lot from working with Elliott (Clark) last year,” Clark said. “Pat’s ball distribution is good. He made some really good saves (Thursday). I think Pat does a phenomenal job in there. He has been learning throughout the summer how to talk more and compete. Thursday was really his first varsity match. He had one save that was off a free kick that was great. He knows he is the guy and he’s working hard to be as good as he can.”

The Owls will take next week off before coming back for two-a-days. Seymour will have its purple/white scrimmage Aug. 11 before opening the season, at home, versus Brown County on Aug. 16.

Dennis said that it should be an exciting season for the SHS faithful.

“We broke the scoring record last year and we return all of our attackers,” he said. “I’m hoping that means we get the ball in the back of the net even more. We have strengthened our schedule by adding Center Grove and Bloomington North. It will make us better.

“I think that all points to us being better in October and gives us a chance at sectionals. I think we were right there in the mix, and right there in the mix in conference. Last year, we were a couple results away from finishing first or second. It will be a fun year. These guys have been around a while. These guys have seen it all before in high school soccer. If we get some things right, it can be a really special year.”