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The Journal Gazette

Monday, September 25, 2017 1:00 am

Barons share bond as leaders

Soccer stars help younger players

JOSH PATTERSON | For The Journal Gazette

Although it's not obvious to outsiders, it would be a safe bet to say there's a bond between the top scorers for the DeKalb girls and boys soccer teams – a mutual respect for each other's skill.

While Joshua Good and his 81 career goals continue to climb the charts for the Baron boys, Faith Lewis already owns the top spot on both the career goals (115) and assists (52) leaderboards for the DeKalb girls.

“I think there's more of an unspoken bond there,” Good said. “She knows she's the special one there in that program, and I'm the same thing on the boys side. Knowing you're the main person on that team, I know it's a special thing for her, too.”

As prolific goal scorers, opponents must focus much of their defensive attention on Good and Lewis. But if those defenders get too preoccupied, that creates space for teammates to excel with the ball.

That's a point of pride for Lewis in particular, who will play at Ashland University next fall, a Division II school about an hour outside Cleveland. When asked about which career record she values more, she didn't hesitate.

“(It's the) career assist record,” Lewis said. “It means more when I can get other people goals. I've done really well, but I've gotten a lot of help over the years from different teammates and they've all helped me get to where I've come.”

Both coaches – Logan Cochran for the 11-1-1 and Class 2A No. 6 Baron girls and Justin Bigelow for the DeKalb boys – stressed the importance of the legacy Lewis and Good, both seniors, will leave after departing the program.

For Lewis, her biggest impact likely falls on freshman Grace Snyder, her partner up top in DeKalb's two forward formation. Snyder has taken advantage of Lewis drawing defenders, scoring nine goals thus far in her first season.

“Even when (Lewis) doesn't have the ball on her foot, teams still have to keep track of her because she's a dangerous player,” Cochran said. “(Lewis has) done a great job of helping not only Grace but also the other underclassmen with being a leader on the field and building team chemistry.

“Faith's always there to help those players out as well, and Faith's willing to stay after practice to help those girls. It's great to have that type of a leader.”

Bigelow echoed many of Cochran's sentiments about Good, the Barons' leading scorer the past three seasons. Good has eased Bigelow's transition from assistant to coach, providing a reliable leader with a proven scoring ability, as well as a great example for future Barons to aspire to emulate.

“We knew we were going to have to rely heavily on Josh, and that's a role he accepted,” Bigelow said. “The legacy is the underclassmen working with him this year, I think they realize what it takes to play at that top level and lots of these underclassmen strive to be like Josh.

“I feel he will be able to make an impact long after he's done being a part of the DeKalb soccer program.”