by Ben Murphy
“The blustery wind played a role in the flow of play, especially when a Panther corner kick swung toward the goal,” Clare head coach Doug Helmling said of the first goal of the game. “James DeRocco (Clare goalie) tried to knock the ball away but the ball crossed the line instead.”
From there, Clare out-shot Standish 19-9 in the non-conference game and took advantage of a favorable first half wind, answering the early Panther goal with Angel Heras scoring on an assist by Kyle Duffett.
Camden Dice put Clare ahead less than five minutes later, knocking home a left-footed shot over the Standish goalie’s right shoulder.
Dice got his second goal of the night later in the half, heading in a shot off an assist by Ryan Whiteman, giving Clare a 3-1 lead at the half.
Standishs’ turn with the wind at its backs didn’t result in any goals for the hosts, but Clare added its final score of the night with Kevin Spicer-Torres scoring off a pass from Dice.
DeRocco was in goal and made eight saves for the win.
“Also impressive for the Pioneers was senior defender Aaron Stutzman, sophomore defender Collin Beavan and junior midfielder Jacob Karl,” Helmling said. “These three players helped solidify the center for us.”
On Monday Clare hosted Big Rapids on Monday, falling 3-0 in a non-league match-up.
Despite the loss, Helmling was pleased wit his squads effort against the undefeated Cardinals.
“The hustle and gritty play required to play varsity soccer was in full effect,” he said. “The passing in the midfield was improved as well as the play on the back line. One of the goals of a competitive team is to limit the opponent’s chances to score. We allowed just twelve shots on goal and the three which scored were respectable finishes.”
On Thursday, Sept. 15 Clare fell 8-0 to Houghton Lake in Northern Michigan Soccer League South Division play.
“We were unable to maintain much possession and consequently played much of the game in our own half,” Helmling said. “There were a few scoring chances, but just two shots on goal.”
The Bobcats led 6-0 at the half and added two more scores in the second to enforce a mercy.
Clare (2-5 overall, 1-3 NMSL) hosts McBain NMC tonight (Friday) and hosts Big Rapids Crossroads on Tuesday.