The second week of the Truckers’ soccer season started with a match last Tuesday against neighboring New London. This non-conference match-up would prove to be an excellent test for the younger, less-experienced crew from Clintonville.
Many of New London’s players had just finished a successful travel season; winning their U16 division. Fortunately, the tenacious Truckers did not seem at all intimidated by the visitors. After mixing and matching player combinations previously, Clintonville came out with a defense that completely frustrated New London.
Defensive leaders Tom Miller and Paul Kenfield played exceptional defense, while Senior Goalkeeper Connor Ford made save after save to keep the Truckers in the game.
With 13:47 left in the first half, Forward Connor Gehrke took a centering pass from Soph. Devin Kestell; and buried his shot in the left corner of the goal. The Truckers carried their 1-0 lead in to half-time.
The second period was a repeat of the first half. The Truckers defense forced New London in to more tough shots, with Ford recording nine saves in the stanza, and while Clintonville failed to score again, Gehrke and senior line mate Austin Paisar kept the pressure on New London, as Clintonville notched its first victory of the young season.
On Thursday, Clintonville hosted rival Freedom for its first conference tilt. And much like Tuesday’s game against New London, the Truckers played a swarming defense and used a quick counterattack offense to win its second game of the year, in over-time, 2-1.
The first Trucker goal was a result of a dynamic run by Connor Gehrke, who found Austin Paisar open in front of the Irish goal. Paisar beat the Freedom goalie for the first score at 10:35 left in the half.
Freedom came right back and scored 4 minutes later, tying the contest at 1-1. With no scoring in the second half, the game went to overtime. And this time, Paisar found mid-fielder Kestell with a gorgeous give and go. Kestell chipped the ball over the charging Irish goalie, and the Truckers won their second straight game.
“Our defense and goalie play was just like we had hoped earlier. Miller and Kenfield work well together on the strong-side of the field, while newcomers Garrett Kuss and Aaron Morris continue to improve their play in front of the keeper,” said Coach Roger Lupien. “As nerve-wracking as these games have been, this is how we have to play if Clintonville is to be successful.”