Athens Drive soccer starts season with nine game unbeaten run

Adam Shefet, Sports Copy Editor

The Athens Drive Magnet High School men’s soccer team has gotten off to a 8-0-1 start to the 2018 season as the 3rd best team in the state and 14th in the country. The team has also solidified themselves as the number one team in the 4A Triangle 6 soccer standings. The most improved start to an Athens Drive season in recent years.

As a team, the averages for major statistical categories all exceed those of the nation and last year. The team has earned a win percentage of 94, six percent higher than any other school in their conference. Athens has also scored 5.3 goals for every goal conceded putting them first in their conference in that category, along with third for total goals scored.

“We have some talented attacking players this year led by one of our captains, Sean Boldrin… Our attack is complemented by a strong, deep and talented midfield led by our other captain Nick Tully,” said Jeff Nelson, coach.

Athens Drive also boasts the fewest goals allowed in their conference and average 4.1 saves per match.

“This is one of the best defenses we have had at Athens Drive in many years. We have four senior starters on the back line — everyone of them is good on the ball, aggressive, and read the game well. They are led by center back Michael O’Leary… We are also very fortunate to have two excellent goalkeepers — Gabe Scranton and Nicholas Warner. All six of these warriors are committed to playing great defense and closing down opponents, ” said Nelson.

Athens Drive has five of the top 20 player standings in the 4A Triangle 6 soccer league, based on a point system of two points for each goal and one point for each assist. In the second place spot is Sean Boldrin, senior. Boldrin suffered a concussion after six games but has still scored nine goals and assisted five more, making him the conferences second top goal-scorer. He has a combined total of 23 points, two points ahead of third place.

“My mindset going into a game is that we’re the best team and we’re going to win, because when I’m confident I’m playing my best soccer,” said Boldrin.

The current roster is evenly split between juniors and seniors with the exception of one sophomore. A major drop from last years six underclassmen. This year’s team is older and more experienced with coach Nelson’s style of play. The team has pulled off large score lines against Holly Springs, 6-0, Fuquay-Varina, 5-0 and Middle Creek, 5-1.

“Do your job, play smart, and play as a team.  It’s crucial that everyone understands their role and responsibility on offense, defense and in transition.  If everyone does their job, it builds trust and accountability. And if a team has trust and accountability they will play as a team,” said Nelson.