Hahn walked on, and life got easier for Owls' Beaver

October 19, 1995|By GLENN P. GRAHAM | GLENN P. GRAHAM,SUN STAFF

It was the third day of practice at Westminster when a sturdy linebacker-type approached the field in mid-August.

There were no pads or helmets at this practice, just a group in baggy shorts kicking soccer balls around.

As much as it may have appeared differently, senior transfer Steve Hahn -- a chiseled 5-foot-9, 185 pounds -- was indeed right at home.

"When he first walked onto the field, I didn't know what to expect from him as far as being a soccer player," said Westminster coach Chuck Beaver. "I was wondering whether this kid's going to be able to get up and down the field. After his first practice, there was no doubt about it."

Hahn gave football a try last season at Sherwood High, playing linebacker, before going to Westminster and getting back to the sport he has been playing since he was 6. He spent his first two years of high school playing soccer at Georgetown Prep.

"I liked watching football so I thought I'd give it a try," Hahn said. "It was fun playing in the games and hitting people, but the practices weren't all that fun. There were some big guys out there and people constantly yelling at you."

Hahn would seem to be more accustomed to being in pads and crashing at quarterbacks. That's until he feathers a through ball to a teammate or finds the net with a booming shot.

The Owls (6-3-1) lost a good part of their attack from last season when Jason Safely (10 goals) and Jason Hewett (eight goals, six assists) graduated.

Over the years, Beaver has learned you can't plan ahead. Some years a player unexpectedly doesn't return, leaving a void. At other times, a gift arrives like Hahn, who has fit in nicely, scoring six goals and adding an assist so far this season.

"It's been real easy. Everyone has good skills and is pretty easy to work with," Hahn said. "I'm just trying to score some goals and give others some chances to score."

Hahn does those things with a subtle approach and an ability to make the game look easy.

His quiet demeanor shows up during introductions before each game when he casually runs through his teammates, accepting high fives, before heading to the middle of the field.

After scoring his sixth goal of the season Tuesday in a 2-1 win over county rival Liberty, Hahn accepted congratulations and quickly went back to work.

"Steve doesn't say very much; he's a man of few words," Beaver said. "It's business and he makes it look easy. He just keeps it simple and makes the plays."

And this isn't even his top sport. "Go ahead, tell us what your favorite sport is," Beaver teases. A smile sneaks up on Hahn as he reluctantly says baseball. More smiles likely will come from Westminster baseball coaches Carl Rihard and Guy Stull next spring.

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