Dan Carmichael doesn’t remember the exact record of his first Greenwood Christian Academy boys soccer team.
Just that there were more losses than victories.
A lot more.
“We were like 2-14,” said Carmichael, who has been the Cougars’ boys soccer coach and GCA’s athletics director since the start of the 2011-12 school year. “Now we’ve grown to where every year for the last five years, the program has played in a sectional championship match.
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“The neatest part is that we now have a solid feeder system starting in the fifth and sixth grades.”
It’s where the majority of the 20 players on the Cougars’ roster this season began working toward what Carmichael hopes is a deep postseason run in October.
Sixteen of the GCA players are underclassmen.
Off to a 6-1 start this season, the Cougars attribute the 25 goals scored so far to 10 different players; Greenwood Christian’s willingness to share the wealth offensively is also demonstrated in that its 19 assists are split up seven different ways.
Junior midfielder Gerrit Huizinga leads with six goals, with senior midfielder Camden Peters next in line with five. Senior forward Ethan Chupp and sophomore forward Griffin Huizinga both have three.
Defensively, freshman goalkeeper Gabe Vessely has utilized his 6-foot-3 frame to its maximum with 38 saves. Senior Jackson Cross has played in five matches, with seven saves to his credit.
The Cougars have allowed just seven goals this season, posting three shutouts.
Graduating nine seniors from a 15-3 team that advanced to the Class A regional at Knightstown, Carmichael had his concerns heading into this season.
But the Cougars’ four seniors — Peters, Chupp, defender Jeremy Miller and Cross — have been more than willing to offer advice to younger teammates.
Perhaps the best example is Cross, who is presently second string in goal behind a player three years younger than him.
“This kid (Cross) has a great attitude,” Carmichael said. “Just a great attitude whether he’s playing or not playing.”
Other GCA juniors who have at least one goal or assist this season are defender Cayden Bauscheck, midfielder Gavin McCabe and defender Micah Loy. Sophomores Danny Wilson, a midfielder, and defenders George Apgar and Ryan Shover have also broken into the scoring column.
Freshman forward Josue Mier has produced a goal and an assist.
Junior Andrew Butcher, sophomores Jack Kovacs, Colton Crick, Brady Wright and Payton Modlin and freshman midfielder Griffin Peters are also key players in GCA’s success.
Carmichael doesn’t hesitate inserting any of them in his lineup.
It’s this level of depth Greenwood Christian Academy hadn’t yet built when making its first postseason appearance 10 years ago. The Cougars lost 4-0 to Franklin Community at the old one-class Center Grove Sectional, then vowed to get better — and they did.
GCA defeated Whiteland, 1-0, in the first round of the 2008 sectional before dropping a 1-0 decision to Franklin in the semifinals.
In 2011, the IHSAA introduced two classes of soccer, which enabled the Cougars the opportunity to play schools closer to their own size.
The program has since won seven of 10 sectional matches, a run Carmichael hopes can continue this fall.
“I knew we had talent. The thing I worried about most was the youth on this team and how they would bond,” Carmichael said of his current team. “They’ve been phenomenal.
“I keep looking at this roster and there are so many sophomores and juniors. But each year I think we get stronger and stronger.”
Saturday;at Central Christian Academy (Kuntz Stadium), 1 p.m.
Monday;at Anderson Prep Academy, 5:30 p.m.
Sept. 17;PAAC Conference match at Davis Park in Anderson
Sept. 20;at University, 5 p.m.
Sept. 22;at Monrovia, 5 p.m.
Sept. 24;Providence Cristo Rey, 1 p.m. (Homecoming)
Sept. 26;at Greenwood, 6 p.m.