Kayla Greco| Democrat
Tri-Valley’s Jordan Jamil keeps the ball away from a Family School pursuer Wednesday during a non-league game in Grahamsville.
Tri-Valley soccer gets its ‘Risher’
Story by Kayla Greco
GRAHAMSVILLE October 11, 2013 For eight Tri Valley seniors, their last time playing on their home field was a memorable one. The Bears defeated Family School 4-1 on Wednesday and kept alive their hopes of qualifying for the sectionals. That would be quite an accomplishment for a team that went 1-15 last season, scoring just four goals in 19 games.
Tri-Valley will have to win its three remaining games against Tuxedo, Eldred and Sullivan West to make the sectional playoffs
First-year coach Erik Risher has upgraded the program dramatically, parlaying not only his extensive soccer knowledge, but keen coaching instincts to extract the most from his players. In addition to introducing a demanding practice regimen and new tactical schemes, he has also instilled a different mindset in his players, motivating them to believe they can compete and win games if they dedicate the time and effort.
Risher used this formula to turn around both the boys and girls soccer teams at Section 1’s Haldane. Now, both of those teams contend for sectional titles regularly.
Junior and four sport athlete Zach Nilsen, scored all four of the Tri Valley goals against Family School. Nilsen has benefitted from Risher’s emphasis on teamwork, noting that “it’s been a lot easier to score goals” this year. he also said that being the kicker for the football teams really helps with muscle memory and accuracy with his kicks.
Nilsen plans on training for soccer throughout the off- season by working hard in the other three sports, football, basketball and track and field and doing skill work and travel ball over the summer. Risher is hoping to organize a soccer club in the Grahamsville area, just as he did successfully with the Phillipstown Soccer Club in Putnam County.
Family School’s lone goal was scored by junior Chris Theos with an assist from senior Paul Waters. Family school’s goalie Kevin Poland fought off and blocked 17 goals while Tri-Valley’s goalie Nathan Bender had nine saves.