The Ben Davis Giants girls’ soccer team would like to forget the 2012 season but sometimes the memory of a 1-15 record needs to remain at the front of the mind. The Giants are ready to turn the page and will do so with a new head coach.
An assistant coach for the Giants over the last three seasons, Justin Van Wyk will lead Ben Davis on its road to redemption this fall as he embarks on his first season as head coach. It’s a season he feels the Giants already have a firm grasp on by utilizing a new offseason approach.
“Each game will be an opportunity to learn because we have some things to work on from last season,” Van Wyk said. “But from the end of last season until this season we have been conditioning so we have been able to use this time to work on more tactical strategy and technical skills instead of preseason conditioning. We want to play in the county final. I want to set our goals high and push them to be the best soccer players they can be.”
For the Giants, being competitive and working towards the same team goals were forgotten last season. Naturally, in any situation where a team isn’t winning, Ben Davis ran into some chemistry conflicts and road blocks due to the frustrations of losing and that reached a boiling point multiple times. Those are now issues that Van Wyk now views as growing pains that are behind his Giants.
“Last season we just couldn’t put the ball in the back of net and didn’t play well together,” he said. “We had a lot of chemistry issues and a lot of things playing into those issues. Coming into this season I was worried about the chemistry but I feel like we have worked past a lot of that. I’m expecting a great start because of our senior leadership and because although we have had girls in leadership roles they weren’t great leaders.”
Van Wyk will benefit from his three seasons as an assistant.
Spending time with the day-to-day operations during the past few seasons and the development of each player year-round will benefit Van Wyk tremendously because he has been involved with the girls that are now seniors since they were freshmen. The trust, respect, and willingness to be coached and led are all there for this senior class.
Two girls in particular have Van Wyk confident that this season will be nothing like last year.
Senior Mariah Allen-Harris will be a part of the Giants’ offensive attack and has already committed to Indiana State. Sydney Johnson, also a senior, will anchor the Giants defense in the back.
“Sydney will lead the defense in the way we need by communicating and imposing her tactical knowledge into our game plan,” Van Wyk said. “She has a very high soccer IQ, she’s a very smart student and we will be relying on her skills. Mariah produced four goals last season which was really good considering our output. This season I feel like she will go out with a bang. I’m expecting great stats, goals, and a lot of production.”