Fox Chapel boys soccer prepares to take another step forward with cohesive lineup

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Saturday, September 19, 2020 | 11:01 AM


In the first game of their season, the Fox Chapel boys soccer team shut out Shaler, 3-0, in a conference battle.

Senior forward Nate Lazzara tallied his first three goals, senior goalkeeper Clayton Humbert recorded his first shutout, and the Foxes put together a solid game to kick off their 2020 season.

But it wasn’t a complete game, and coach Erik Ingram said the team stepped up its play in the second half after limping through the first. He said developing consistency will be the key to the season.

“We played an OK first half and really poured it on in the second half and completely dominated the game,” Ingram said. “I just don’t know how often we’re going to be able to pull that off, where we play one half of very strong soccer. That will be the issue if we can get a little bit of consistency and put the same product on the field during both halves all the time.”

In 2015-16, the Foxes made a run to the WPIAL title game and recorded 18 wins. Their 12 wins last season was the highest total since then, and now the Foxes are looking to take another step forward after losing to Canon-McMillan in the WPIAL Class 4A quarterfinals last season.

Although the Foxes graduated 10 seniors, of which about half were starters, Ingram believes they still have the talent, soccer IQ and team chemistry to go far this year.

It all starts with Lazzara at the front of the Foxes attack. After scoring three in the season opener, the senior attacker is poised for a breakout season on offense. But the success of the Fox Chapel attack will rely on the players around him.

“It’s just going to be a matter of converting our chances and coming out with goals in games,” Ingram said. “The chances will be there, and the offense is going to generate a lot of attack and a lot of opportunities. It’s just going to be a matter of if anyone can step up with Lazzara and score goals. I know he’ll produce up top. It’s just a matter of who else will jump in the mix and put us on the board here and there.”

Aside from their attack, the Foxes’ defense will be their big strength this season. Humbert will be back in the net after recording seven clean sheets as a junior, and defensive standouts Jack Nury, David Merriman and Austin Schutzman also return.

“In the back and in the goal, we have it pretty well locked down,” Ingram said. “Our defense is very, very strong and our goalkeeper is very, very strong.”

Schutzman will be a player that will play multiple roles for the Foxes. Ingram said he can solidify both the defense and the midfield for the Foxes and will be crucial to their success.

“He’s pretty versatile that way,” Ingram said. “But he’s a big-time player for us, so having him back is great.”

Although the Foxes lost a lot of talent from last season, including Zane Ingram and Josh Miller, they are still holding themselves to high expectations this season and have aspirations to take their season one step further.

“I think the sky is the limit this year,” Ingram said. “Talent-wise, potential-wise, we are as good as any team we are going to see this year. It’s just a matter of can we convert our chances, can we minimize the other team’s chances and if we can do that, which we have the absolute ability to do, we are going to do really well.”

Greg Macafee is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Greg by email at gmacafee@triblive.com or via Twitter .

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