The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

October 1, 2013

Jon Gerardi's H.S. soccer column: Shikellamy boys surprising some people

(Continued)

Steese is in just his second year at the helm of the Braves, but he was an assistant coach for a handful of years under coach Kurt Mayer. And under Mayer, he learned what it took to win.

"I've seen the success. I've seen what we've had to do to get there and this team is all about (that)," Steese said. "I told them they haven't earned anything yet. We have to look for respect from other teams. Hopefully this year we're getting some eyes opened up and we can run with some other teams in the area."

The Braves aren't an offensive powerhouse with a go-to scorer who will run away with goals this year in the Valley -- Seth Burk leads the team with just five -- but rather it's their incredibly solid defense that is helping get the wins each week.

Through 11 games, the Braves have given up just six goals (including two against Warrior Run, three to Midd-West) and have posted a Valley-high eight shutouts.

That strong defense has been due in large part to Drayton Laverio, Brenden Stepp and Taylor Edwards, among others including goalie Justin Engle.

"We have excellent speed in the back. When teams try to beat us over the top, we have speed to get back," Steese said. "Justin has great hands and is very decisive. If he's off the line, I'm really confident in what he does."

The Braves haven't had a winning season since 2008, but it's safe to say that Steese has Shikellamy on the right track this year to change that.

n Jon Gerardi covers high school soccer for The Daily Item. Email him at jgerardi@dailyitem.com or follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/JonGerardi.

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