BY WENDI REARDON
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Kickers opened their season with a split at the Traverse City Invitational on Saturday.
“We played awesome,” said Curtis Payment, head coach for Clarkston Boys Varsity Soccer.
The boys won the second game against Traverse City Central, 3-2 with goals from Matt Definis, Robbie Farrell and Ethan Wise, who made his first career goal as a freshman. Nolan Cook made four saves in the net for the Wolves.
“Both games our goaltending was solid,” said Payment. “There weren’t a lot of opportunities. There were a few defensive lapse where they were pretty much wide open. Our goalies didn’t have chances.”
Goalie Noah Bridgeman made eight saves against Traverse City West in the first game as the Wolves lost, 2-1.
“They only had a few chances but they did score on them,” Payment added. “It was kind of a bad luck game, but the boys played really well.”
The lone goal came from Kyle Hayes with an assist from Brady Dickens who set Hayes up for an open net.
“It was a pretty good team play on that one,” Payment said, adding the two games will get the boys ready for this week.
They opened the week on Tuesday against OAA Red foe Troy Athens.
“I have never beaten them during my tenure so I hope it helps prepare us for another level of competition we are going to see,” Payment said. “We need a great week of practice to fix what we determined were problems this weekend. The Traverse City tournament was critical to get time playing together. We have practiced for a week.”
He added Troy Athens and Troy are returning a majority of their players and what he has seen so far they are very good.
“The league is the strongest it has been,” Payment said. “I can’t believe how good the league is. Rochester Adams is probably favored and extremely stacked. Stoney Creek is going to be incredible. Lake Orion returns everyone but a few. We saw Rochester play at a scrimmage a few weeks ago and they looked really good.
“Last year was a down year in the state and this year it has rebounded with a ton of good teams,” he added.
The Wolves host their home opener on Thursday against Waterford Kettering.
“Kettering had a rough season last year but I know their coach and I know they are going to be a lot better,” Payment said. “We need to defend our home turf and set that as a precedent for the season because we do have a lot of home games. It will be big.”
The boys host Troy next Tuesday.
JV begins at 5:30 p.m. and varsity follows.
BY WENDI REARDON