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Copley boys soccer team looking for another deep playoff run

10/25/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Sean Patrick

Copley forward Brandon Gathagan (No. 19), at right, moves around Cloverleaf’s Dom Payerchin (No. 6) Oct. 20.
Copley midfielder Skye Harter (No. 7), at right, looks for room around Cloverleaf’s Cory White (No. 31) Oct. 20.
Cloverleaf’s Dom Payerchin (No. 6), at left, and Copley’s Holden Torrens (No. 21) fight for the ball at midfield Oct. 20.
Photos: Dale Dong
COPLEY — Copley High School boys soccer head coach David Antal said his team has “far exceeded our expectations” this season.

Copley forward Chris Brennan (No. 23), at left, rises high to trap a ball in the first half of play during the Oct. 20 game against Cloverleaf.
“Coming off a state tournament run last season, then losing six starters, our biggest challenge was whether we could emulate what we accomplished last season,” he stated. “And up to this point, we have completely outdone what we did last year.”

Through Oct. 23, Copley’s record was 13-2-2 overall and 6-1 in the Suburban League.

Antal attributes that success to hard work and dedication by his players.

“They really understood what it took to be successful from last year,” he said. “They really gelled in becoming a team. At one point, we were ranked as high as No. 3 in the state, so it’s been a wonderful ride so far.”

According to the coach, Copley got out to a strong start, but then hit “a dull period” in the middle of the season. Antal said his team worked hard to find its groove again.

“We didn’t lose a game in our first 10 — we went 10-0 — and then we went to Columbus and tied a tough team from Worthington Kilbourne,” he said. “That seemed to take the wind out of our sails for a bit, but we got back on track to where we needed to be.”

Copley opened this year’s playoffs with a 3-0 win over Cloverleaf High School Oct. 20 in the sectional finals. The win advanced Copley to a district semifinal match against Medina High School Oct. 24 (results of the game were not available at presstime).

Antal said this year’s team features 13 seniors, including captain Alan Du, who is a left defender.

“The first thing I’ll tell you about him is that he scored a perfect 36 on his ACT, which is pretty impressive. And he carries a 4.8 GPA,” the coach said. “On the field, he doesn’t make mistakes. He’s clean on the ball. He’s short in stature, but he plays a big game. He’s able to beat kids that are bigger and faster than him, because he outsmarts them.”

The team’s other captain is junior center-defender Michael Dichlian.

“He is a big, strong force in the back,” the coach said. “He is the heart and soul of our defense. We build everything from him in the back.”

Another key player for the team this season, Antal said, is sophomore center-midfielder Skye Harter.

“He is the most crafty player we’ve had at Copley High School,” the coach said. “His ability to do things and manipulate the ball is far ahead of his years as a sophomore.”

Now in the postseason, Antal said all of his players seem to be playing at the top of their games.

“Our training has been really good, the kids have been working really hard and we’ve done some good team-bonding things,” he stated. “We are firing on all cylinders.”

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