Lincoln Southwest senior Isaiah Shaddick makes major improvement to lead Class A in goals
During the offseason for high school soccer, Lincoln Southwest boys coach Derek Scheich was hearing good things about one of the team’s returning players, senior Isaiah Shaddick.
Shaddick had scored some goals for his club team, was hitting the weight room and had looked good during some of the indoor matches Scheich saw.
Still, lifting weights doesn’t mean you’re going to score when three defenders are in front of you during a match, and it would have been hard to predict what Shaddick has done this season, going from scoring two goals last season to 20 this year. That’s the most goals by any player in Class A.
“It’s kind of a surprise,” Scheich said. “I know he’s always been a talented player, and we’ve rated him very high in our program, but his production this season has been off the charts for our team.”
Last season, Shaddick had two goals and eight assists when Southwest reached the state semifinals.
Shaddick is playing a different position this year, moving from center midfield to an outside forward position in the spot where then-senior Cole Quandt played last season. Shaddick is playing more in open space against outside defenders.
“I think it helped moving him to the outside where a lot of times he gets in space and he’s in 1-vs.-1 isolation situations, and the kid is just lightning-quick and his technical ability is phenomenal,” Scheich said.
But a position change alone wasn’t enough to make that kind of jump in production. Shaddick also improved.
“He had some (scoring) opportunities last year playing in that attacking midfield role, but maybe wasn’t quite as clinical,” Scheich said. “This season he’s put away a lot of those chances that I think in previous years he might have shot right at the keeper, or gone wide. That’s a testament to him really working on his craft.”
Shaddick set a school record for goals in a season, topping the previous record of 19 by AJ Wiley.
For Shaddick, it’s been a special season, both for what he’s done and for the team, which starts the state tournament on Wednesday ranked No. 4 with a 13-2 record.
“It’s definitely a big step, but it’s not done on my own. I have to give credit to all of my teammates,” Shaddick said. “A lot of my goals have been pretty easy to just place and put in the back of the net because I’m making the right runs and they’re playing me a great ball for a tap-in.”
Shaddick comes from a family of football and basketball players, but soccer became his thing.
“The sport just drew my attention differently from other sports,” said Shaddick, who will play in college at Concordia. “I played baseball up until I was 11, and I was pretty good at that. I played basketball. But it just didn’t seem to keep my attention as much as soccer. Out on the field it’s such a team sport, and you always have to be moving and thinking, even without the ball, and I love that aspect of the sport.”
Shaddick’s consistency has been impressive. He’s scored or had an assist in 14 of the 15 matches he’s played in.
Both Shaddick and Scheich agree that Shaddick’s best goal of the season came in a match against Kearney. On that goal Shaddick moved into a spot about 10 yards in front of the goal. Parker Jeppson crossed a ball into the area in front of the goal, and after the ball bounced off the turf, Shaddick quickly redirected the ball into the top left corner of the goal with just one touch.
Scheich calls it a “sublime” goal.
“(Kearney’s) Jacob Hardy is a great keeper, but there was no chance he was getting that,” Scheich said. “I don’t think (Hardy) even moved. It was just a great touch by him.”