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LC soccer team looking to senior Matt Harnetiaux

Mike Boyle Correspondent

When the Lewis and Clark Tigers were making their run into last year’s state boys soccer tournament, it was the senior class, with standouts like C.J. Moe and Skye Henderson, leading the way.

Lewis and Clark’s recent dominance of the Greater Spokane League has been in large part due to its senior leadership, and this year Matt Harnetiaux hopes to continue the Tiger tradition.

“I want to be a leader this year,” said Harnetiaux, a returning all GSL forward. “My senior year I want to step it up.

“Last year we had some seniors do a great job, and this year I want to do the same thing.”

While being the supporting player in the Tiger attack the past two seasons, Harnetiaux is now being counted on to be in the leading role.

“Last year we had so many ‘go to’ players,” said Tiger head coach Kenny Krestian. “C.J. Moe, Skye Henderson, Brandon Darnell – those were guys we’d go to in crunch situations. You look at those three guys, and in five overtime games we played in last year, I believe they were responsible, in one way or another, in all of those goals that won those overtime games.

“I think Matt this year is going to be the ‘go to’ guy, where he’s going to find a way to get things done, to make something happen.”

The Tiger forward also has prepared himself to have a breakout season offensively.

“I really wanted to work on my speed and my agility, and my ball-handling skills,” Harnetiaux said. “I wanted to keep my shots down.

“I do this program that strengthens my quads that helps out my speed and strength.”

“He’s very good at creating for himself,” Krestian said. “I know that’s one of his focuses, putting the ball on target. If he puts it on goal, anything can happen.”

Krestian has no doubt the senior will improve in that area, as Harnetiaux has shown the ability to step up his game every year since coming to Lewis and Clark.

“Through the season (last year), he didn’t score as many goals as he had in the past, but he found a way to score goals or create goals in our big games. He scored in the regional final, in the state semifinal.

“In the first round of state, he set up the game-winning goal. The things he’s doing not necessarily on the ball, but off the ball, he’s just a huge help.

“This year as a senior,” Krestian said, “he’s taken on a lot of leadership. The guys are looking at him already, saying what’s his work rate like, what’s his attitude like, and they’re matching it.”

Harnetiaux, who started playing soccer in the YMCA when he was 6, remembers always being attracted to the game.

“I just liked how intense it is and how there isn’t that many goals, but everyone is working hard, just how exciting it is,” he said. “I just remember the snacks after the game, like Squeeze-its and Gummy Bears.

“It’s one thing I miss about the old days. Kenny doesn’t really give us treats.”

The snack tradition does continue somewhat at LC, though, with the help of Harnetiaux’s mother and a few Tiger parents.

“They would show up every now and then with hot chocolate or ice cream or Popsicles every now and then after practice,” Krestian said. “Especially the last few years when we’ve started practice and there has been snow on the field, at least once a week they would show up with hot chocolate for the boys.”

As the Tigers have enjoyed the spoils of victory the past few seasons, Harnetiaux is eager to continue the tradition.

“I want to win the GSL and have a great run like we did last year,” he said. “It was so much fun. It was a great experience.

“I would love to win state. We just have to play a lot and keep practicing and remain positive no matter what happens.”

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