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April 2, 2014

Clawson High girls soccer looking for division title and more

By Christian Davis
C & G Sports Writer

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Clawson High girls soccer looking for division title and more
Clawson High senior Olivia Paquette, back, and junior Haley Danhausen battle for position during a recent practice in the gym. Inclement weather has kept the Trojans inside for the most part during the preseason.

CLAWSON — This isn’t the ideal way of practicing for Clawson High girls soccer coach Tom Pavlovich.

The Trojans were again forced into the gym due to weather conditions March 27.

“They work hard. I tell them to run every day, and they do,” Pavlovich said. “That’s about all we can do. We’ve been outside once so far. It was nice to get them outside and see them shoot and move the ball. Inside the gym, it’s really tough.”

Clawson went through a similar routine at the beginning of last season, but Pavlovich said this is much worse.

“(Last year) helps in terms of running things, but I don’t think it’s ever beneficial to be in the gym,” he said. “The ball doesn’t bounce the same, you’re not wearing the right kind of shoes, the ground doesn’t give when you’re running. So it’s entirely different.”

When the Trojans do finally take the field, they’ll be doing so as three-time Macomb Area Conference Gold Division champions.

Last year, Clawson won the division, finishing 9-1-2 in the Gold and 14-3-2 overall.

The Trojans return 10 total players from that team, including eight starters.

Senior Josie Daniel is a third-year varsity member.

“We were at the top last year, so we want to stay up there,” she said.

Pavlovich, who is in his second year as head coach after leading the JV program for two seasons, said the key to the title runs has been consistency.

Former head coach Jared Kullman led the Trojans to their first one.

“They have a steady set of expectations throughout the program. (Kullman and I) run the same formations, the same drills, our practices are close to the same, and we always try to instill in them to make sure they are smart soccer players and make sure they are working hard,” Pavlovich said.

On the field, Pavlovich explains the style as, “we play an overwhelming offense and an overwhelming defense with a quick transition.”

He wants to get numbers around the ball at all times, but also be quick enough so that they don’t give up an odd-man rush the other way.

The coach expects Marysville High, St. Clair High and Marine City High to be contenders for the title this time around, adding that the three programs are always solid.

Daniel agrees.

“Those are always tough games going in no matter what,” she said. “People want to try and prove a point by beating us, but we stay focused on our goals”

A division championship isn’t the only thing on Pavlovich’s mind. He said a bigger goal is to make a run in the playoffs. The Trojans last won a district championship in 2006.

In order to do it again, Pavlovich believes Clawson will have to get past perennial power Beverly Hills Detroit Country Day, who has knocked Clawson out multiple times in recent years.

“We have a tough road if we want to do something,” Pavlovich said. “It’s good and bad. If we can beat Country Day, then, obviously, we can put a feather in our cap for that one.”

Last season, Clawson lost in a Division 3 district final to Pontiac Notre Dame Prep.

Prep has moved districts, and Pavlovich guesses the Fighting Irish will be waiting at the regional level.

Daniel said the team wants another shot at the district championship.

“It was a nice experience getting there and a huge motivator to get there again this year,” she said.

Catch the Trojans against Roseville High at 7 p.m. April 2 at home.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Christian Davis at cdavis@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1062. Twitter Follow Christian on Twitter.