This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The Salt Lake Lutheran High School soccer team recently finished the season without posting a win. But the 0-9 record doesn't tell the full story: The Lynx played most games with only eight players.
When the season began, coach John Hughes thought he would have 11 players on the roster, the maximum who can be on the field at one time. After two students didn't meet the grade requirement, and another chose to not play, Hughes was left with eight players.
"Eight guys graduated from last year's team, so I knew it would be a challenge to fill their spots," Hughes said.
Team captain Paul Brooks didn't know what to expect playing games while severely outnumbered. "We really didn't know how it would turn out and at first I think we took it kind of lightly," said Brooks, one of two seniors on the team. "We quickly realized that it would take a lot of hard work."
Brooks said the team learned to rely on each other.
"We obviously couldn't cover the entire field, so we divided it into zones. It got to the point where we just trusted that the zones would be covered," he said.
Nathan Salas Manful, whom Brooks called the team's defensive specialist, described the zone approach as simply being "a lot of running."
"We had to cover a lot of area and work hard to play good defense," said Salas Manful.
Even with hard work, Brooks said starting each game with only eight players on the field was intimidating.
"We had two offensive players at best and the other team always seemed bigger. But once the game started we forgot about the numbers and just played a game and tried to have fun and stay sportsmanlike."
The Lynx efforts didn't go unnoticed. "After one game, the refs came to me and said they were impressed by the character of our team, and how the team always kept playing," Hughes said. "We had a lot of good experiences and the team has really grown together." Big number
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