The situation is not one in which the Collingswood High School boys' soccer team envisioned itself being, yet it’s not one from which the Panthers are exactly shying away, either.
Through 11 games, Collingswood has just three wins; however, spirits are high that a winning run is right around the corner.
“We had a rough start to the season,” senior captain Jack Hatzell said. “We had a rough first half of the schedule against West Deptford, Haddonfield, [Haddon] Township.
"All these game have been close," he said. "The problem has been not putting the ball in the net, but recently we have been scoring more goals.”
Hatzell has been a bright spot for a team that has only managed more than one goal in three games this season, and leads the team with four goals from the stopper position.
“I have a lot of impact on the offense because our offense runs through our defense,” he said. “It is all distributed through the back. A few times a game, the ball gets played back to me and I have been able to get a shot on net.”
Hatzell and his varsity teammates received a virtual day off Tuesday afternoon. The team was scheduled to take on Overbrook, but the Rams had an in-house issue that left only nine JV players available to take the field in Collngswood. The Panthers’ varsity players were on the field for only a few minutes in what turned into a 9-0 victory.
Although it came in the oddest of formats, the Panthers are hoping the win will start a nice little run. Collingswood has a tough test Thursday against West Deptford, but follows with winnable games against Sterling, Woodbury and Paulsboro.
Hatzell said the biggest reason he believes the team can make a major turnaround is the team's change in attitude of recent weeks.
“The team as a whole started to connect,” Hatzell said. “In the beginning of the season, a lot of people had an attitude that was down. Now the team is getting together more for team dinners and we have had more team bonding. Our practices have been a lot more positive and everyone realizes we can actually be good.
"In the beginning of the season they didn’t realize that,” he said.
Despite their struggles, the Panthers currently sit in playoff position in Group 2, (13th place). Hatzell said the team is set not only on making the playoffs, but also on doing so as a .500 team.
“We are not just trying to get in as a bottom seed against one of the top three seeds,” Hatzell said. “We are trying to get in the middle of the pack and shock a few teams.”