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Getting defensive

Lehman helps lead Plainfield soccer to memorable season

By Mike Beas

The Plainfield boys soccer team allowed a grand total of six goals on its way to winning a Mid-State Conference title and the program’s first sectional in 16 years.

Lending a hand — okay, make that both feet and the occasional header — in the Quakers’ collective stinginess was senior defender Parker Lehman, a three-year starter.

Plainfield posted a spotless 7-0 mark in league play this season, outscoring the opposition, 32-1. The first six matches were shutouts before coach Drew Sheppard’s squad yielded a second-half goal in a 4-1 victory at Franklin earlier this month.

Lehman, one of three team captains, along with classmates Kolton Crouch, the team’s goalkeeper, and midfielder Ethan Le wis, the Quakers’ leading scorer, was a big part of Class 3A No. 17 Plainfield taking a 13-1-4 record into its match against East Central in the semifinals of the Carmel Regional.

To that point of the season, Lehman was credited with three goals and an assist. However, it’s his ability to prevent the ball from getting to Crouch that makes Lehman the valued asset that he is.

Cliché as it sounds, Lehman, who maintains a 4.37 grade-point average and is ranked 58th in his class academically, is a coach on the field for the Quakers.

“It’s Parker’s leadership and just his steadiness,” said Sheppard. “He’s on every day, is always solid and you always know what you’re going to get with him. Parker is fast, and he can run for days. For me, the big thing is how many times did the other team have a legitimate chance to score?

“The only time he comes off the field is if we’re up five or six goals. He always knows where everybody is supposed to be.”

Parker Lehman
(Photo by Eric Pritchett)

Lehman did a Q&A with ICON:

Q: In most sports, offense gets more attention than defensive excellence. How do you gauge whether you’ve had a good match or not?

A: My main thought is how many (shot) attempts did the other team have and how good were the attempts? The biggest stat that all of us defenders take pride in is the number of goals scored against us.

Q: How long have you played soccer, and what is it that drew you to the sport?

A: I’m the only one in my family who ever played soccer. When I was a little kid, Adam Mathis was my coach for both soccer and baseball. I really liked the way he coached us, so I stuck with soccer.

Q: What are your plans after graduating from Plainfield High School?

A: I applied to IUPUI and am hoping to go there to major in electrical engineering and maybe play soccer. My dad (Kyle) is a mechanical engineer. I find a lot of interest in how things work.

IU West Hospital
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