“We want this bad. Coming back from last year, we had one loss and one tie, so now the goal is to one up ourselves. We want to go undefeated the whole way and improve. But to do that we have to focus on the game in front of us every day.”
It’s easy to have a let down coming back after winning a state championship.
Having already accomplished the highest of highs in high school sports there can be problems reclaiming that focus the following year and finding a way to bring it to the practice field every day.
But Seven Lakes hasn’t had that problem. The Spartans haven’t had a let off, instead, it’s gone the opposite direction and Seven Lakes has been even more ruthless than last season, jumping out to a 10-0 record and outscoring opponents 49-5.
It’s continued into District 19-A play. The four-time defending district champions have jumped into first place with five straight wins to start district and continued their strong play on Friday, beating Jordan 4-0 to stay unbeaten on the season.
“We want this bad,” said senior winger Daniel Ejerenwa. “Coming back from last year with everything we had one loss and one tie, so now the goal is to one up ourselves. We want to go undefeated the whole way and improve. But to do that we have to focus on the game in front of us every day.”
That one tie last year came in district play to Jordan and Seven Lakes did not want to let it happen again. The Spartans wasted no time in attacking and scored 11 minutes into the match, when Aidan Morrison played a give and go and then hit a screamer from outside of the box that nestled into the bottom corner to give Seven Lakes the lead. The Spartans kept up the pressure and Jesus Duque added a second in the 25th minute when he cut inside from the left side and tucked a shot from outside the box into the near post.
Duque has been one of the most pleasant surprises for the Spartans this year as he has gone from a player battling for playoff time on a loaded front-line last season to a integral part of the team and is someone who has a poachers attitude in front of goal.
“He’s another technical weapon for us,” said Seven Lakes head coach Jimmy Krueger. “Jesus was a guy who battled last year to get minutes and when the opportunity opened up this year he’s taken full advantage. It doesn’t matter what minutes he gets, he’s eager to get out there and make a difference in the game. Jesus is technical and shifty and it’s just another element that causes issues for other teams.”
The Spartans added a third in the 38th minute when Ejerenwa sent in a cross that the Jordan goalie couldn’t handle and Kortay Koc followed up on the rebound for the goal. Ejerenwa assisted another 10 minutes into the second half, crossing a ball into the box that Duque latched on to and put past the keeper. Ejerenwa could easily have had four assists in the game if not for some very good saves and was named the man of the match
“We’ve been in Daniel’s ear about that since day one,” Krueger said. “He’s good in open spaces and he’s good when he’s taking people on at speed. When Daniel is playing at the level you saw today it opens up space and opportunities for other players that get a bulk of the spotlight. When he’s on his game it makes it so difficult to deal with the offensive weapons we have.”
It’s a testament to the culture built at Seven Lakes that this team is pushing for results the way they are, and that culture goes from the varsity on down to the junior varsity games and lower, where senior captain Aidan Morrison will walk around the bench and give advice to the underclassman during their games.
And this team isn’t satisfied even with the big win over a playoff caliber opponent. They want and expect bigger things this year and that’s what they’re working towards.
“We all want that feeling again,” Duque said. “We want to win district, we want to win the region and we want to go back and win it all. That’s what all our effort is going towards and I really think we have a team that can do it.”