Central Soccer pleasantly surprised at offense’s success

Set pieces proving deadly through first few matches

17 months. That’s how long it’s been since Central boys soccer played a game together.

And for some RiverHawk players, there were six to eight month gaps between even kicking a soccer ball on a field.

Despite the long, long pause, Central is out to a hot start. The team has two wins and a 4-4 draw through the first three matches.

With 2019 goal-scoring machine Adian Roth long gone, the team is actually a little surprised at how well their offense has played to start the season.

“I thought we’d be winning games 1 or 2-nothing instead of four so that’s been pleasant to see,” head coach Adam Lyons said. “We’ve had to change how we do things. We’re focusing a little more on set pieces, trying to build up attack instead of relying on one guy.”

Set pieces have been indeed been deadly for Central. Senior Joe Lee takes all the kicks and has either scored directly from 30 to 40 yards out or found teammates like Nicolas Bujan for headers.
The two seniors say their ability in those situations comes naturally, but also thanks to hours of work between them.

“Every day during the summer, Joe and me practicing together,” Bujan said.

“We’ve been just kind of tweaking it little by little,” said Lee. “If I see [a chance] I’m taking it.”

“He can hit a ball really well,” Lyons said of Lee. “He scored a goal [Tuesday vs. Eau Claire North] from about 40 yards out in the run of play. And like I’ve said, we’ve got some guys who have size and strength who are willing to go get the ball [for headers].”

Central has eight matches to play before the alternate fall postseason begins.