Lindbergh soccer to face some tough competitors

By Robert Chalupny

With the 2015 regular season winding down and teams gearing up for the postseason, the Lindbergh High School varsity girls’ soccer team has a valuable opportunity to gauge, evaluate and hone its skills in the remaining weeks.

The 8-6 Flyers will face two of the top-10 teams in their final six games — 12-3 Nerinx Hall, ranked fourth; and 12-2-1 Eureka, which is ranked sixth.

Both games will be excellent preparation and will allow the players and coaches a chance to see how much the Flyers have improved since the start of the season and what still needs to be done, according to head coach Andrew Mertens.

Lindbergh started the season on a winning note.

The Flyers topped their first two opponents, but lost momentum, dropping four in a row at the onset of the season.

However, they recovered, winning six of their last eight games and they are hoping that trend continues, Mertens told the Call.

“We had a little bit of growing pains at the beginning of the year — trying to figure out where everyone fit together and developing chemistry,” he said. “We have a reasonably young team here. We definitely had some turnover from last year, but they are really starting to understand and buy into the system that we’re playing here, in terms of what our whole tactical sense is …

“The more they are understanding it, the more they are playing with each other (and) the more success they are having,” the coach added.

While the Flyers have some young players, the squad has a veteran captain, ac-cording to Mertens.

“Luckily we have a very strong captain in Carolyn Ries and she’s certainly a lead-by-example player … So I think she’s been instrumental in moving us in the right direction,” he said.

Besides Ries, the Flyers have their three other returning seniors to help lead the way — Anna Thurby, Mia Tucker and Lexi Yarbrough.

If the Flyers are going to continue to have success for the remainder of the season and in the playoffs, the defense — while it has been solid — needs to be the primary focus for the team, according to Mertens.

“There are some things in terms of our defensive plays as a team unit that we can continue to improve on, but they are definitely making strides in the right direction there,” he said. “The understanding is there. It’s just polishing that diamond, so to speak, and then making it better than it already is.

The Flyers were set to travel to Eureka Monday afternoon — after the Call went to press.

On Tuesday, the Lindbergh squad is set to face Oakville on the road. The Flyers are set to meet Lafayette at 6 p.m. Thursday at home.