"This team isn’t just a team. We’re a family:" SHS girls soccer team raising the bar for ’19 season


In the dog days of summer, coach Greg Musser has seen one big difference with Seymour High School’s girls soccer team.

Over the past few years, the gap in skill from the first to second team was evident from the opening training session.

This preseason, Musser is working with an experienced group that’s getting pushed by a strong group of underclassmen.

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“We’re returning a lot of contributing players from last year, and there are a lot of younger girls who are going to be pushing our older girls for the starting spots,” he said. “You can see it in the training. In the past, we’ve seen two distinct groups. You don’t see that right now. A lot of girls are pretty similar, which is a good thing for us.

“We have the opportunity to have a special year. It’s a different feeling going into this summer. In year’s past, it felt like we played catch-up. I think the catch-up is over. Now, we’re trying to get over that hump.”

The Owls graduated five seniors, including three regular starters, from last year’s team. The three who saw the most minutes worked the back line, which helped the Owls secure 11 shutouts .

Seymour finished 13-5-2 overall last fall and placed third in the Hoosier Hills Conference with a league record of 4-2-1. The Owls advanced all the way to the Sectional 15 championship game but fell to Floyd Central 2-1.

In the HHC race, Columbus East won the title for an 11th straight year last fall.

Seymour has tied for the HHC twice — 1997 and 2003. In the ‘97 season, the Owls also won sectional and regional titles. The program hasn’t won a postseason tournament since then.

While the Owls haven’t collected much hardware in recent years, Musser said this year’s group has the potential to change that.

“We always ask them what their goals are at the beginning of the year. Typically, the girls always say they want to win the conference and sectional,” he said. “I think that bar is a little low for our team. I think our team has a lot of talent. We are coming together cohesively, and I truly believe that sectional isn’t our ceiling. We have the opportunity to make a run if our heads are on right. It’s just building a mentality.”

Incoming senior Aidan Hiester said fans should expect to see a fun team on the pitch.

“I think people are seeing that the Seymour Lady Owl soccer team is improving,” she said. “We’re winning games. I think people want to come out and see how we’re working and what our work ethic is. I think all of our hard work is paying off, and people will see that.”

Between the returning players and new additions, Musser feels the team will have a “pretty” brand of soccer.

“Our possession has gotten much better,” he said. “In the past, we wanted a possession-based model, but we would just make a couple passes and then send the ball. I think we have the opportunity to do really good buildups, get some ‘oohs and ahhs’ and do some fun things. I think the most fun part of this team is that we are a team. There is really no alpha female out there that needs to go out there and get 20-plus goals. We could see five girls with 10-plus goals on our team. It is just that type of team this year. We have a very cohesive unit, and I think that could take us really far.”

Mallory Moore, an incoming junior, said the team has close bonds.

“Development and skilled-wise, I think we have a lot,” Moore said. “This team isn’t just a team. We’re a family. We keep the environment lively. I think we can expect some great things this year.”

Breaking through mental barriers has been the focus of the summer for Musser and his staff.

“We’re trying to get them to have that self-belief,” Musser said. “That’s the key. It’s our crutch. Talent-wise, I think we’re there with pretty much anybody. If we can get over that hump, the sky is the limit with this group.”

Beefing up their schedule, the Owls have dropped Greensburg and Providence this year and have added Columbus North and East Central.

Seymour will host Bloomington South for a scrimmage at 6:30 p.m. July 16. On July 20, Columbus East will come to town for a junior varsity/underclassmen scrimmage.

The Owls will open the season Aug. 17 against Batesville.

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