Prep Soccer: Danville senior Christian Gateskill-Fuqua doing his part as a scoring leader
Danville senior Christian Gateskill-Fuqua, center, had to adapt to more of a scoring role this season and had to do it despite playing with a broken right hand. (Hal Morris / October 15, 2012)
This year, it was his turn. And Gateskill-Fuqua has emerged as a solid scorer for the Admirals, leading the team with 24 goals as well as a team-high six assists going into today’s 12th Region Tournament first round game with Monticello at Mercer County.
“It’s weird. Every single year coming into that first day of practice, and you can look and you have people that are going to do it. You look at Ethan (Hobson), Max (Meckes), my sophomore year Jake (Winkler) and last year Drafton (Peck). I’ve always had somebody else,” he said. “I walked in there this year and I had to look at myself.”
Gateskill-Fuqua has been a starter since his freshman season, so he was prepared to take on a new challenge. He’s also prepared to help the Admirals win a fourth-straight regional title.
“I’ve been able to make a lot of my chances this year,” he said. “I’ve just been in so many pressure situations on so many good teams, you just try not to get rattled and try to hold everyone together.”
Danville coach Brent Beauman said he is proud of the way Gateskill-Fuqua has grown as a player, giving the Ads needed scoring after being mostly a defensive player in his career.
“This year we needed more offense, so we moved him up,” Beauman said. “Physicality is just the biggest improvement in his game. He’s just gotten so much bigger and stronger and faster.
“He’s really fast and can jump really high, and that just makes a difference at the high school level. It will prepare him to go on and play in college. I know that’s a goal of his and he’ll need those skills in the future. Now it’s kind of his turn, and he’s always had to adjust. He’s done a good job of meeting the needs of the team and doing what is asked of him.”
Being there for the team means not even a broken right hand, suffered Sept. 13 in a 1-0 win over George Rogers Clark, has kept him out of action.
“I didn’t miss any time played the rest of game and got X-rays that night,” he said. “When I found out it was broken, we thought I was going to have to have surgery and miss some games, but it’s growing properly.”
The Danville senior said he is more confident this year because he has gotten stronger physically.
“As you mature physically and as you grow more comfortable with the game, and how it’s going, it slows down,” he said. “I know for Corey (Steber) and some of those guys that are just getting in there, it move a million miles an hour. But when you’ve been in a lot of games, the game slows down. You can step back and make the right play based on the situation.”
But Gateskill-Fuqua said it’s not just his experience which is going to be key to another regional title run.
“Calvin (Steber) and Damir (Karapandzic) are just so solid (on defense). Damir is just the goofiest person I’ve ever been around, but he turns it on, and he knows when its game time and he takes care of business,” Gateskill-Fuqua said. “We’re all experienced, Damir, Calvin, myself, Shawn (Ramos) and Matt (Oster). Matt blocked five PKs (penalty kicks) in a row last year in the state tournament. There’s a lot of senior leadership in this team.”