Luikart playing key role for Poca soccer team
As the title of his position indicates, Poca stopper Noah Luikart plays a significant role for the Dots soccer team.
Luikart, a junior who also plays basketball for Poca, commands a great presence defensively on the pitch.
“Aside from your goalie, he’s your last line of defense back there,” Poca boys soccer coach Brock Jarrett said. “He’s kind of the quarterback of the defense. He tells the backs where to go, he tells the sweeper where to go, he tells the goalie when to come out and get the ball.
“It’s a pretty important position, because he can kind of control the whole field from where he’s at, and he does a great job of that.”
While offense and nifty footwork often grab headlines and highlights, Luikart said defense represents the backbone for any successful team.
“You don’t really notice how important defense is, because really all you see is the people scoring the goals, doing all the fancy tricks and all that,” he said, “but defense is really an important key to soccer.”
At stopper, Luikart anchors the defense.
“I’ve always been the so-called ‘captain’ on defense, but it’s never been set in stone,” Luikart said. “I’m kind of the last guy back there, so really whatever gets past me, it’s just the goalie.”
Because of his position and responsibility, Luikart said providing direction to his teammates is key.
“I’m the last guy back besides the goalie, so I can pretty much see who’s coming where,” he said, “and so I got to tell them if they got a man behind them or they need to go over to someone. If the guys in front of me do their best and I’m doing mine, it’s going to work out for everyone.”
When Luikart gives instruction, Jarrett said the Dots respond accordingly.
“They trust him and what he knows out there, that he’ll put them in the right spots,” Jarrett said.
Without any seniors on this year’s squad, juniors like Luikart will play an even larger role.
“We don’t have any seniors, but we have a big junior class coming up, and most of those guys have been here since their freshman year,” Jarrett said. “To me, he’s probably been one of our top three or four players all three years he’s played. We expect him to be a leader and we think he’ll fill in that role.”
Despite the lack of seniors, Luikart said the program’s former players provided plenty of advice and laid the foundation for this year’s group.
“I’m excited about it,” he said. “We just started up the program two years ago and the seniors who just left, they had a big, big role on our team. They’ve taught us well just on how to play the game. We’ve got some key players as juniors, and we should be able to step up. It should be a fun year.”