LION Newspaper

Athlete of the Month : Matt Vear ’18

Mary Okkema, Reporter

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On the night of Sept. 15, the Friday of homecoming weekend, the LT boys varsity soccer team played Reavis on Bennett Field. LT was fouled in Reavis’ goal box during the last half of the game. Charlie Clarke ‘18 called goalie Matt Vear ‘18 to take the penalty kick. Everyone held their breath as the referee blew the whistle, and Vear rocketed a shot into the back of the net. The fans roared and the team celebrated the goal: a rare experience for the goal saver to be a scoring player.
“The atmosphere was fun and loud, which we don’t usually get at soccer games,” Vear said. “It was overall a very cool experience to get a goal after being on varsity for four years.”
The team beat Reavis five to zero, making this victory one of the 15 wins out of 19 games so far this season. In seven of these wins, Vear had shutouts.
“Watching [my teammates] work hard makes me work harder because I know we have the potential to be good, so I strive to be good and help my team out,” Vear said.
Vear excels in his hard shot blocking skills and reading the game, Varsity Head Coach Paul Labbato said. These skills, along with his natural athleticism, make him very successful as a goalkeeper. He runs the defensive line and makes sure all his teammates on the field are involved.
“He is a hard worker and reliable,” Labbato said. “The kids on the field know that he is going to do his job 100 percent to the best of his ability, which is very good. There are so many things that go into leadership, engagement in the game vocally, and the understanding of how focused he needs to be at all times. Throw in the fact that he has trained his entire life and his athleticism, makes Matt an outstanding goalkeeper.”
Vear not only is a strong leader on the field, but also in the locker room, center defender Tate Riordan ‘18 said. He is the motivator that gets everyone pumped up for the games.
“Matt is an upbeat energetic personality who brings the best out of people,” former teammate Gabe Drobny ‘17 said. “His best attribute is what he brings to the locker room. He always knows how to make everyone laugh, but still performs at a high level on the field. Everyone loves being around the guy.”
Vear’s leadership, quick reaction times, and calm demeanour make him stand out. He plays a major role on the varsity team that is currently ranked eighth in state, according to Max Preps.
“He’s really helped me a lot with my communication and a lot of my confidence building,” second string goalie Mark Jareczeck ‘19 said. “I’m getting a lot better because he’s been there guiding me through how to make a saves and different techniques.”
Vear has been on the varsity team all four years of his high school career, Labbato said. His freshman year, he played in eight games.
“Matt has improved a lot since his freshman year,” Drobny said. “He has really evolved his game to another level. His ability on breakaways is some of the best I’ve ever seen.”
Vear is still undecided on whether he wants to play in college, he said. Despite not getting as far as they wanted to in the Pepsi Showdown, the team is hoping to go far in playoffs. They advanced to sectionals with a 5-1 win over Whitney Young on Oct. 21. The team is preparing by working hard in practices, and focusing on upcoming games.
“We are looking forward to playoffs,” Jareczeck said. “I think we will do well. We have such a talented squad, and have really worked as a team this year. Encouragement spreads everywhere, and it’s a good team atmosphere.”
LT played OPRF for the sectional semifinal on Oct. 25, after the LION’s print deadline.

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Athlete of the Month : Matt Vear ’18