Defense is the name of the game for CEC boys
CLOQUET, Minn. - The Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys soccer team is off to a quick start this fall. They've already knocked off a pair of conference opponents and just received their first loss of the season against state powerhouse Holy Angels Saturda...
CLOQUET, Minn. - The Cloquet-Esko-Carlton boys soccer team is off to a quick start this fall. They've already knocked off a pair of conference opponents and just received their first loss of the season against state powerhouse Holy Angels Saturday afternoon. The Jacks then defeated Eveleth-Gilbert 2-1 in overtime Tuesday evening at home for their third win of the short-lived season.
But with a 3-1-1 record, fifth-year head coach Archie Clark knows his talented boys can play better.
"We have won a few games already this year, but I know that we can improve," said Clark. "We have a lot of young, talented players on the field. We just have to settle down a bit and when we do, we'll be a difficult team to beat."
Clark's youthful, yet experienced squad has already been hard to tip this fall, and since their season-opening tie with Proctor, the 'Jacks have won three of their last four contests and posted victories over conference foes Superior and Duluth Denfeld.
Their secret? Defense.
Besides giving up three goals in a 3-1 loss to Holy Angels Saturday - a game which saw CEC leading at halftime after tallying the first goal against the Stars all year - the 'Jacks have only allowed four goals in three games, something Clark is proud of, to say the least.
"Defensively we've been doing very well so far this season," Clark said about his bunch that has only let six balls into the net on the year. "Our back four have been doing a tremendous job for us this fall."
But defense is only half the game in soccer, and Clark knows that if his 'Jacks want to continue to be successful on the pitch, they are going to need to pick up their game offensively - especially with the loss of starting senior goalie Derek Shrecengost, who suffered a broken hand against the Hunters last week.
CEC has only buried nine goals this season, three of them from sophomore forward Landen Straub.
"We definitely need to improve on the attacking half," said Clark. "We've been knocking balls over the bar all year long. And once those start to find the net, this group is going to be tough."
With their offense just around the corner, defense not giving up an inch and the program becoming better than ever, saying that CEC is going to be tough this fall might just be putting it lightly.
"It's early in the season and these boys are only going to get better throughout the fall," Clark said. "We have some big games coming up, but with time, I know that by the end of the year these boys will have what it takes to compete for both the conference and section titles."
Those big games will continue for the 'Jacks this week as they are set to travel to Hermantown, a Lake Superior Conference favorite, for a 5 p.m. contest Thursday, Sept. 10. CEC will then tango with Duluth Central at 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, at Public Schools Stadium, before heading up to Two Harbors Tuesday, Sept. 15, for a 5 p.m. game.