Clawson High girls’ soccer never rebuilds. The Trojans simply reload from a well deep with talent – and they keep winning.
This season should follow the same script for head coach Tom Pavlovich. Last season, the team won the MAC Gold division title for the third year in a row and posted a 14-3-2 overall record and 13-1-2 in league play.
“We’re hoping to put in a good challenge for the league and maybe come out on top again,” Pavlovich said.
But the winter weather has delayed the season with the Trojans’ March 28 opener cancelled. The team's home opener is slated for a 7 p.m., Wednesday, against Roseville.
“I’m not sure who I’m going to start because I haven’t seen them all play outside,” Pavlovich said. “We’ve been practicing in the gym and we braved the cold outside once.”
The team did lose three senior starters and Pavlovich moved up three freshmen to the varsity team this year. There are 15 players on the varsity team this season with five seniors, two juniors, three freshman and five sophomores.
“Looking forward to having two returning forwards provided one of them gets healthy,” he said. “Lizzie Pasquin missed all of basketball season and we’re hoping that she gets cleared to play. Olivia Paquette ended up playing a lot of defense last season but scored a couple of goals from pretty big distance. But I want to get her spot back to her.”
Senior Josie Daniel will be relied upon to handle the outside defender position for the Trojans.
“She’s everything you need an outside defender – determined, aggressive and physical,” he said. “We’ll slot attack with her and we’ll have Sam Sherman at center defender for the first time. But I don’t think she’ll have any problem playing there.”
And keeping the opposition from scoring will be in the capable hands of returning goalie, sophomore Diana Davis.
“We were worried that she wasn’t going to come back. She started as a freshman for us and handled it really well. We are really looking for good things from her this year,” he said. “We are looking for good things from our outside defender, Amy Boldt. She had three goals four assists in three games last season that we pulled her up for.”
Looking at the league, Pavlovich knows that Marine City will bring a challenge to the Trojans.
“Their team was comprised of mostly sophomores last season,” he said. “That should be an interesting match. The top four teams in the division were all within four games of each other. There were a lot of ties that happened because of good goaltending and good defense. St. Clair always puts up a good fight and Marysville always does as well. They had a lot of girls out with the flu last year when we played them. But all the teams are pretty strong.”
Pavlovich knows that a well-conditioned team will create opportunities for itself.
“We start conditioning in January and that pays big dividends early on in the season when we run all game,” he said. “I expect all 15 of my players to play an entire game no matter what position. I have high expectations for their work ethic.”
In addition to their conditioning, the Trojans have to understand and know the game inside and out.
“I expect them to be smart players. We take a lot of time studying formations and how to defend against certain formations,” he said. “We study up on soccer principles of movement and formation.”
A fundamentally sound offense and defense is waiting to “work hard” on the field and finally get out their gym to start the season. And to keep that well of talent flowing.