Slowly but surely the Meadowdale boys soccer team is getting used to first-year head coach Sean Griffin.
The Mavericks showed some progress in a 1-0 victory over district rival Mountlake Terrace.
Meadowdale struggled in the first half but then rebounded with a much better performance in the second half en route to the win March 30 at Edmonds Stadium.
“We’ve been having a hard time just putting it together,” Griffin said. “We’ve been playing a lot of individual ball and so there were some times tonight where we did a much better job of trying to find each other and help each other out. So it paid off.”
Griffin, who also coaches Meadowdale’s girls soccer team, replaced longtime coach Darrell Hamilton, who retired at the end of last season.
“The guys are having a hard time getting used to what I want,” Griffin said. “It’s different than what they’re used to, so there’s definitely been some struggles as we try to adapt to what I want in training and in the game.”
What Griffin wants to see is his players letting the ball do most of the work on the field.
“I don’t want them holding the ball as much,” he said. “We’ve got some guys with good ball skills, but every team you play these days is good enough and has good enough athletes that if you just try to dribble they’ll shut you down. I just like to establish a little bit more teamwork and let the ball do more of the work.”
The point man for the Mavericks is senior co-captain Simon Craig, who is providing strong leadership, especially with the younger players.
“He kind of helps direct people,” Griffin said. “We have a lot of really young players. We’ve got two freshmen starting in the defense. He talks to them and tells them what they should do. … He’s our most important leader.”
Junior Justin Correa provides good speed up front. Correa tends to draw a lot of attention from the opposition.
“He’s sees the field well and moves the ball up,” Griffin said.
Another early standout is sophomore Jack Gold, one of the team’s best finishers, who has scored two goals.
“In soccer, ultimately everybody is a key player,” Griffin said. “There’s no such thing as one guy.”
Griffin appreciates his players’ attitude as they become more familiar with his style of coaching.
“To these guys’ credit, they’re really working at adapting,” Griffin said. “They have a positive attitude. … Overall it’s a good experience and we’re improving bit by bit.”
Meadowdale (3-2-2) currently is sitting in the middle of the pack in the Western Conference South Division and all of its games have been close.
“I think the chances for anybody to do well in the league this year are good because we’re all so close,” Griffin said.