BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Sophomore Ethan Wise was 30 yards away from the goal when teammate junior Patrick Farrell passed the ball to him.
Wise took the long shot, burying it into Lapeer’s net less than three minutes into the Clarkston Boys Varsity Soccer home opener win last Thursday, 3-0.
“We needed this game,” admitted Curtis Payment, head coach, adding they lost to Troy, 3-1, and Detroit Catholic Central, 3-0, in their previous two games. “It was important to get back the momentum.”
He added the difference from the previous games was the way the Wolves started.
“Those games we gave up a goal in the first three minutes,” Payment said. “Tonight was the reverse where we started early. It was a different energy from the other nights. Tonight was focus and we learned from other games.”
The Wolves put their focus on scoring again and showed it in their drive and control of the ball. They kept pushing and made attempts on the net including two from seniors Brady Dickens and Cole Mitchell within four minutes of Wise’s opening goal.
They made another attempt with just 22 minutes remaining in the first half. Mitchell passed the ball to senior Matt Heilman, who took a shot on the net. The Lightning’s goalie made a save. Senior Finn Eblenkamp capitalized on the rebound and kicked the ball from 18 yards away for the Wolves’ second goal.
“It was an effort goal,” Payment said. “Just pressing, getting his foot on the ball, and hard work.”
The Wolves continued to hold control of the ball in the second half.
Lapeer made a shot on goal with less than 25 minutes remaining in the second half, which was stopped by junior goalie Noah Bridgeman. He kick it out 60 yards and Wise was able to head the ball over defense and gain control of the loose ball, kicking it into the net.
“Ethan, again, just using his speed,” Payment said. “They were playing a high trap and we were getting some offside calls. I knew there were some breakaways, too. He finished just perfectly. He has been working so hard. His work ethic is phenomenal. He is just everywhere. Ethan has been getting a lot of opportunities like that and he was due. He has been focusing on his technique and not hitting it hard but with good form.”
The Lightning made a few attempts in the last seconds, but Bridgeman kept them out for the shutout.
“It was his first start,” said Payment. “His communication was really good and had a couple of crosses he punches. I was really happy with his play. Our defense tonight was calm. They have been solid. Jacob Bore was phenomenal tonight. We brought John Loch off the bench and he played super, too.”
The varsity and JVA teams host Rochester on Wednesday at Clarkston High School, beginning at 5:30 p.m. JVB hosts Rochester Adams at Clarkston Junior High School, 5:30 p.m.
The varsity team plays DeLaSalle on Friday, 7 p.m.; Bloomfield Hills on Saturday, 10 a.m.; and Ann Arbor on Saturday, 1:45 p.m. All games are at Bloomfield Hills High School.
“Rochester is fabulous, too,” said Payment. “They realize mentality and focus pays dividends and hopefully we can walk into the Rochester game with a little bit of confidence and ready and focused.”