PLEASANT VIEW — If anyone was to look on paper at Weber High’s boys soccer team, one might assume defense is the strong point.
The Warriors have allowed just one goal through eight games, and can lean on defense to keep the score the same if the attack isn’t having a good day.
“We were actually worried about our defensive line, we thought we were going to be heavy on offense, less on defense, I think that made us step up a lot more,” senior midfielder Colby Lee said. “Out of that back line from last year, only one of those players started.”
On Thursday, Fremont was the latest team the Warriors swept aside, this one a 5-0 decision, thanks to a stout defense, a controlling midfield and an offense that takes its chances when it gets them.
That ran their record to 8-0 overall, 7-0 in Region 1, and bumped the season’s goalscoring margin to 21-1. Realistically, Weber was a couple feet away from winning 7-0.
While attackers were feasting on opportunities, Weber’s defense calmly dealt with the occasional runner, cross or shot. A zero remained on the scoreboard for the Silverwolves (2-7, 1-6 Region 1).
“Our defense, coming into the season, I wasn’t sure how it was going to be but it’s just been phenomenal this season. And we give credit to the offense, too, I mean they’re holding the ball up there, make it an easier job for the defense,” Weber goalkeeper Stockton Short said.
The Warriors’ objective is to quickly move the ball around on the ground and use slick passing to open up players for runs outside. Possession stats aren’t kept in the high school game; any team that plays Weber has to chase shadows for long periods of time.
“We focus from the JV and varsity up on moving the ball, possession, the coaching staff we all have the same vision so we’re all training the same way so when they get to varsity they know what’s expected of them,” Weber head coach Jan Swift said.
Teams don’t get points, or a trophy, or a banner in the gym, or a parade for being the No. 1 team in the RPI rankings. Nor do they get any accolades at the end of the year for being a defending state champion.
Weber knows this and has so far embraced it in 2021.
“Here’s the thing ... this year, we treat every single game like it’s the championship game. We have close scoring games, but we’ve worked our tails off every game and we haven’t let off even if we do score,” Lee said.
Weber doesn’t burn the back of the nets every game, but the Warriors obviously have a formula that’s working.
On Thursday, Jake Youngberg scored twice in a span of eight first-half minutes to give Weber a 2-0 lead at halftime. Like Lee said, the team didn’t let up.
Lee, who assisted the first goal, found Braden Bennett on a corner kick for a 3-0 lead soon after the restart.
Luke Wight scored 12 minutes later and Youngberg wrapped up his hat trick with a low finish in the bottom corner a minute later, assisted for the second time that game by Carson Karras.
Once play restarted after each goal, the Warriors played like they were tied 0-0 instead of ahead, a mentality that goes in line with knowing they don’t get trophies in April.