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September 26, 2012

Ike soccer prepares for second half of tough MAC Red

By Jon Malavolti
C & G Sports Writer

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Eisenhower’s Tyler Olson moves toward the ball during a game earlier this season. At press time, the Eagles were well on their way to winning a fourth consecutive MAC Red Division title.

Nothing comes easy in the Macomb Area Conference Red Division.

That’s why Utica Eisenhower’s boys soccer team is focused on finishing the task at hand, despite knowing nothing but glory in the league.

The Eagles have won the past three MAC Red titles. As they neared the halfway point of the division season, they found themselves in a familiar place — on top — with a familiar mind set, but also wary of what’s ahead.

“Every game is a battle,” Ike coach Josh VanHouten said. “It’s scary going through the second time. They’ve seen what you have. You have to keep adjusting and improving. It’s not easy.

“They’re going to start picking up on what we have,” the coach continued. “Hopefully, we can overcome that and perform the way we have been.

At press time, the Eagles were 4-0-0 in the MAC Red and 12-0-0 overall. The lone division team they had not played yet was second-place Chippewa Valley (3-0-1, 6-4-2). Check out our website at www.candgnews.com/Sports for a recap of the Eagles and the Big Reds first meeting of the season, played after press time.

Utica Stevenson (2-2-0, 7-2-1), Utica High (1-3-0, 6-3-2), Utica Henry Ford II (0-2-2, 3-5-3) and Fair Haven Anchor Bay (0-3-1, 6-5-1) trail Ike and Chippewa in the division standings.

While the Eagles, led by an imposing defense, had shown few flaws in the first half of the season, there’s always room for improvement, and their coach knows his players have the drive and desire to get better.

“The guys themselves … they push each other to excel,” VanHouten said. “They want to win game in and game out. They have to perform high all the time.”

Ike takes on MAC White leaders Fraser High in a crossover clash at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 29 at Swinehart Field.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Jon Malavolti at jmalavolti@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1040. Twitter Follow Jon on Twitter.