Elizabeth Forward soccer strives to get better amid winless season
TribLIVE Sports Videos
It's tough enough that his team remained winless, but Dave King wasn't about to accept mediocrity.
“We're very young, and we've gotten the effort from them in every game, except one,” said the longtime Elizabeth Forward boys soccer coach. “We corrected that the next night in practice.”
It was following a 2-1 loss to Yough on Sept. 17 that Elizabeth Forward players found themselves working more than usual.
King thought the team squandered a great chance for its first victory just days after battling Thomas Jefferson to a 2-2 tie.
“I always tell the guys that when I show up for practice, I give you an effort,” King said. “If you're not going to give an effort in the game, you'll give it in practice. You'll run some hills. One way or another, we're going to give an effort.”
Since then, Elizabeth Forward has shown signs of progressing in a season of trial and error. But the overall results have reached a new low for King. Only two times in his 13 previous seasons as coach have the Warriors not qualified for the WPIAL playoffs.
At 0-12-1 and a rematch with Thomas Jefferson scheduled for Tuesday, the Warriors are headed to the sidelines for a second year in a row after narrowly missing the postseason in 2012, limping to a 7-10-1 mark.
As for being hobbled, Elizabeth Forward this season not only is young, but banged up. It's a tough mix for King and his team.
“We've had more than our share of injuries,” he said. “We've only had the same starting lineup in a game one other time this season.”
Junior Derek Bakewell, who King calls “probably our best player,” has been hampered by a high ankle sprain. There's also been concussions and hip injuries and a host of other bumps and bruises.
When King calls his team is young, he's not kidding. Elizabeth Forward has just two seniors on its roster, but only one — co-captain Adam Stitt — is a regular.
“We've only scored four goals, and he doesn't have any of them,” King said. “We've been competitive against most teams, but we've been starting two or three freshmen, and then most times, two or three more freshmen are coming off the bench. We have a nice junior class and some good sophomores, so we're optimistic that we can get it going again.”
Junior Tyler Buckley leads Elizabeth Forward with two goals and one assist.
King can't say what his career coaching record is, but he estimates that he's “up around 150 wins.” He's certainly familiar with taking teams to the playoffs, though being guaranteed a second consecutive miss is hard to take.
“It's frustrating. It stinks showing up at the stadium without a win, but the boys have a good attitude,” he said. “They come to practice, and we've noticed a difference in their play between the beginning of the season and now. Really, that's all you can ask for.”
Dave Mackall is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.