DANVERS — There are certain aspects of a soccer team that aren’t always noticeable. But without them, a team couldn’t function properly.
More often than not, defense is overshadowed by fast-paced midfielders and high-flying offenses. But without a defensive scheme in place, winning would nearly be impossible.
No team understands that more than the Danvers High girls team. With eight shutout performances, the Falcons (12-2-2) have given up just 11 goals through 6 games this season.
The Northeastern Conference Small champs earned their 23rd consecutive playoff berth, believed to be the longest streak of any area school in any sport.
Any coach will tell you it’s a simple balance between both sides of the field: trong defense translates into offense and vise versa.
”We only have six defenders on the team, so each one of them plays an intricate role,” said head coach Jimmy Hinchion. “We’ve come on with the game plan since Day 1 of our first game that we’re going to defend as 11. Out first line of defense is our forwards, and the team has really bought into that.”
Tactically, the scheme has worked for Danvers. Since Hinchion took over the program in 1999, the girls have developed a style that has brought them tremendous success and a handful of conference championships
Led by senior captains Jackie Morse and Renee Pohle, the Falcons typically run a flat back four defense. The defense however, is anything but flat and hardly ever stays in a straight line across the back.
“We play smart,” added Hinchion. “We’re not out there to mark or watch a certain player; we’re here to defend as a team, They know there has to be someone on the opponent pursuing the ball, and most of the time there’s another defender supporting the player in case the first defender gets beat.”