Player of the Year: Guertin prospers after transitioning to offense
by Adam Carrington
acarrington@mdjonline.com
June 16, 2013 12:34 AM | 1670 views | 0 0 comments | 46 46 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Cole Guertin
<Br>Staff photo by Samantha M. Shal
Cole Guertin
Staff photo by Samantha M. Shal
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At one point of his high school career, it was Cole Guertin’s job to stop people from scoring.

Now, he’s the one doing the scoring.

The senior forward capped his senior season with a record-setting 30 goals and seven assists, good enough to help lead Harrison to a 17-4 record and a berth into the Class AAAAAA state semifinals.

For his efforts, Guertin is the 2013 Marietta Daily Journal/Cobb County Boys Soccer Player of the Year.

“It took a little bit of coaching to read the game at forward,” said Guertin, who will play next season at Darton, a junior college in Albany. “It was just a natural niche for knowing where the ball is going and being at the right place at the right time. I didn’t learn to become a complete forward until this year.”

When Guertin first started playing the offensive position he said he was natural at making runs and checking off to the midfielder before getting to the ball. A lot of his goals were touch shots from inside the 8-yard box.

Ultimately, he grew more skilled at reading his midfielders when they had the ball. He also learned to keep making 30-yard runs into open space to either draw defenders out of position or receive the ball himself.

In Harrison’s 3-2 win over Douglas County in the second round of the state tournament, Guertin scored a goal as a result of making those 30-yard bursts.

Another skill he developed was holding the ball long enough for his teammates to get into position. Guertin’s shooting foot was also stronger, having scored several goals from 18 yards out.

“When he made varsity as a freshman, we thought he had attacking instincts,” Harrison coach Jonathan Gross said. “The first couple of years with us, he played outside midfield and up top. We worked with him on making the right runs and getting into the right spot to finish. He was always eager to learn, which made it easy.

“His attitude was fantastic. He was willing to listen, and he got better.”

When Harrison upset Centennial 2-1 in the state quarterfinals, Guertin excelled at drawing the Knights’ defenders out of position, and it eventually allowed Nathan Vickroy to score the game-winner.

In Harrison’s pivotal 2-1 overtime win over Campbell on March 8 to open Region 4AAAAAA play, Guertin scored the game-winning goal with 2 minutes left in the second overtime period. He also scored Harrison’s first goal in the second half, converting a penalty kick that he drew.

The Campbell victory started Harrison’s perfect 8-0 region record.

Other highlights for Guertin this season included scoring four goals in a 9-0 win over South Cobb. He also had a hat trick in an 8-1 win over Hillgrove and two more in a 4-0 shutout over Kennesaw Mountain.

Harrison battled against Collins Hill in the semifinals but had to settle for a 2-1 loss on penalty kicks, but Guertin will only look at this season as a success after helping the Hoyas get past the second round of the playoffs for the first time since they won it all in 2007.

“It was, by far, the most memorable and exciting season I ever had playing soccer,” he said. “Everything was awesome. Our chemistry was always on point. There was never a time when you felt let down.”
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