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September 4, 2013

Fraser soccer upends Ike in season opener

By Thomas Franz
C & G Sports Writer

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Fraser soccer upends Ike in season opener
Eisenhower’s Luke Pryg , center, tries to steal the ball from Fraser’s Matt Lang, left, as Brendan Solomon, right, follows during the game at Fraser Aug. 23. The Ramblers won 1-0.

Sitting in the Fraser press box on opening night of boys soccer season Aug. 23 were the athletic directors from Utica Eisenhower and Fraser, along with the public address announcer who has been involved with soccer in Macomb County for three decades.

None of them could remember the last time Fraser defeated Utica Eisenhower.

That changed later that night, as Fraser defeated Eisenhower 1-0 in a match of 2012 MAC Division champions.

Fraser senior forward Matt Lang scored just more than four minutes into the contest, and the Fraser back line took control from there to secure the landmark victory.

Fraser coach Thaier Mukhtar is in his second season as head coach of Fraser, the MAC White Division champions from a year ago. With their win against Eisenhower — the MAC Red champs last season — to start the season, Mukhtar’s team has established early momentum for the 2013 campaign.

Lang is leading Mukhtar’s team on the front line. In addition to helping lead his team to another division title, Lang said he has set a lofty goal for his final year at Fraser.

“I want to beat the school record for goals in a season (28), but team comes first. If it comes, it comes, but putting the team in the best scoring chances is going to be what’s best for the team,” Lang said. “I usually get the opportunities; it’s just about finishing them, and that’s the big thing I have to work on this year.”

While Lang will be joined on the front line with fellow captain Zach Tosoian, juniors Matt Lentine and Justin Piccolo will play key roles in the midfield. Lentine assisted Lang on the lone goal in the season opener.

The Fraser back line will feature a mix of youth and experience, and that blend already proved to be working together well against Eisenhower.

“I thought my back three played very well. My sophomore, Dylan Donnelly, at sweeper, seemed to clear every ball out of the area before they became dangerous. Nathan East and David Driest on the back line, I thought they were extremely solid in neutralizing them,” Mukhtar said while talking about his defenders’ efforts on Aug. 23. “Last year, I thought we were exploited pretty good in the back, 5-0 by this team, so we had something to prove coming out today.

After participating in a pre-conference tournament in Petoskey over Labor Day weekend, Fraser will begin MAC White play on Sept. 7 when it hosts L’Anse Creuse North.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Thomas Franz at tfranz@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1040.