The lineup for Carrboro boy’s soccer is incomplete to start the year. So why shouldn’t the season opener be, as well?
In a game stopped at halftime due to lightning, Carrboro defeated Cedar Ridge 2-0 Wednesday at Jaguars Stadium, continuing a series of close game between the in-county rivals. Junior Jake Melville scored two goals in a span of 43 seconds in the Jaguars’ opening win.
With starting goalkeeper Johas Herfarth in Germany nursing a knee injury, the Jaguars gave Will Wagner his first start in net. In only his second year playing varsity soccer, Wagner (whose main sport is basketball) made two saves in the truncated victory.
The Jaguars, coming off a Mid-State Championship and a trip to the 2A Eastern Region final, started five sophomores and a freshman.
Going into the season, Carrboro head coach Jared Drexler knew his depth would be tested with the graduation of eight starters.
At the start of practice, Carrboro had no idea that captain Jake Zinn would be lost for the first three weeks of the season because of a stress fracture in his right foot. Another starter, Ryan Laatz, suffered a broken arm in training.
For a squad that has made five consecutive trips to the regional championship game, the Jaguars are inexperienced.
“We knew there were going to be some mistakes tonight,” said Drexler. “We’ve had some injuries. We looked good at times and other times, we made some mistakes. I’d like to be more cohesive. There was some stuff that we can build off of.”
Carrboro will find out very quickly if it made any progress last week. The Jaguars host 3A Chapel Hill at 6:30 p.m. Monday, the first day of classes for local schools, and then play 4A Cardinal Gibbons on Friday in a match set at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary.
Chapel Hill, coming off a 2014 season that saw the Tigers go undefeated through the Big 8 for a second straight year, tied 4A Northern Durham 1-1 and then blasted Eastern Alamance 6-1 in Chapel Hill’s first two appearances of the year.
With Carrboro arguably the most consistent 2A program in the state, the Jaguars have had close games with the Red Wolves. Last season, Carrboro swept the Red Wolves 1-0 and 2-1. In 2013, the Jaguars scored a late game-winner to hold off CRHS 2-1.
“I think our communication was lacking early on, which led to the two goals,” said second-year Cedar Ridge Coach Chris Walker. “That knocked us off balance. Once our keeper (Brendon Boss) recovered from that, I think we did pretty good from that point forward.”
Cedar Ridge starts the season with five games in its first seven days. The night after the 2-0 loss to Carrboro, the Red Wolves tied Durham School of the Arts 2-2 behind goals from Ivan Carabajal (the final equalizer on an assist from Elmer Trujillio) and Johnny Caldaron.
The Red Wolves prepare for Eastern Alamance, Southern Alamance and East Chapel Hill this week.