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Greensburg Salem boys soccer improving after slow start

| Thursday, Sept. 20, 2012, 8:58 p.m.
Greensburg Salem midfielder (left) Culin Gelblum and Indiana defender Jacob Williamson-Rea go up for a ball during their section contest on September 4, 2012 at Offut Field in Greensburg. Eric Schmadel | Tribune-Review

The adage “don't judge a book by its cover” can be reworded to describe how the Greensburg Salem boys soccer team is perceived in the standings.

The Golden Lions got off to a rough start this season, opening play 0-5 overall and 0-4 in Section 1-AA. Heading into this week, head coach John Lynch said he knows the first win isn't far and a few slight adjustments on the field and in his players' heads will be key in attaining that goal.

“We're in every game, but we just can't seem to finish and get goals in the net,” he said. “I feel that we are dominating the teams we are playing most of the time. But the other team seems to be able to put the ball in the net on us and we just can't get it back.”

A recent indicator as to how Greensburg Salem's play has improved came last week against Burrell (5-0, 3-0), the top team in the section, and suffered a narrow 3-2 defeat. Lynch noticed that his players are beginning to improve in the offensive end and make better passes to open teammates than they had done earlier in the year.

“We gave Burrell quite a game in my opinion and we certainly gave them a better game than they've gotten from other teams,” Lynch said. “It's definitely an improvement on our players going out there and trying to win those 50/50 battles for the ball better.”

Lynch began experimenting with position swaps to get the best players more opportunities. Senior Dillon Boggs was moved to defense along with junior Nick Osikowicz. The pair and Josh Kappel have honed in on the position's responsibilities and improvement is already noticeable.

Seniors Culin Gelblum and Tyler Hood have been strong at the offensive end with juniors Luke Mangery and David Milburn. Lynch said the midfield and forward positions have begun to play together and play smarter.

Despite struggling to get in the win column, Lynch touted the positive moral throughout the locker room.

“They're fired up because they know that they can beat everybody,” he said. “They are understandably upset with their performances, but they are still in good spirits.”

Gelblum — one of the more vocal leaders on the team — said as each practice goes by, he knows the Golden Lions are that much closer to notching their first win.

“I think we can turn it around and do I think we have potential? Yes, absolutely,” he said. “We just have to come together as a team. That's the only thing that's stopping us.”

The Oct. 2 rematch with Burrell is circled on Greensburg Salem's schedule, because in about two weeks they will be able to gauge the progress they've been working diligently toward.

Brian Graham is a freelance writer.

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