Nowakiwsky leading at forward with unselfishness
FARMER’S KORNER – With six minutes remaining in Saturday’s match against Alameda, Summit High forward Chris Nowakiwsky had a clear line to the goal. The senior co-captain already had scored two goals, and it seemed sure that he was about to make it a hat trick. But instead of taking the shot, Nowakiwsky chipped a cross to Armando Gutierrez, who was even more open 10 yards to the left of Nowakiwsky.Gutierrez couldn’t finish, but it didn’t matter. Summit was up 5-0 at that point, and the game’s result was no longer in doubt.
It’s been hard to miss Summit’s prowess as a team this fall (the Tigers are 4-0-3 and ranked eighth in the state), but equally impressive on the individual level has been Nowakiwsky’s unselfish play.After leading the team with 13 goals last fall as a midfielder – then requesting to be moved to forward at the outset of this season – Nowakiwsky has noticably put more of an emphasis on setting up his teammates than he has on burying shots of his own.”He’s always been a team player, but I’m seeing him give up shots that he would’ve taken last year to give another player a better shot,” said SHS assistant coach Justin Turri, who pointed at Saturday’s pass to Gutierrez as a perfect example.”I have been impressed with his unselfishness. He’s a very mature player. For someone his age he knows a lot about the game of soccer, and I think he’s smarter this year than he was last year.”
Nowakiwsky’s two goals on Saturday gave him four for the year, in addition to his three assists. Although it’s senior Kevin Pelen, with five, leading the squad in scoring, Nowakiwsky is happy with his new label as a passer before a shooter.It’s also one, he maintained, that has been there all along but is only being noticed now because the team as a whole is more talented.”This year everyone else has stepped up,” says Nowakiwsky. “They’re making the runs and they’re getting themselves open. I looked for it before, but last year they weren’t always there.”Pelen, who’s received assists from Nowakiwsky on two of his goals, said he, like Turri and head coach Peter Shafroth, has noticed his teammate’s pass-first priority this year.
To Nowakiwsky, the rest of the team relying on him is vital to maintaining his high-level play.”Everyone has confidence that I can get them the ball,” he said. “That’s the key factor.”Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 231, or at email@example.com.
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