HYDE — Andrew Lopez scored an early, first-half goal, Luke Winters added one in the second half and the Clearfield boys soccer team played suffocating defense in a 2-0 victory over Bald Eagle Area Tuesday at the Bison Sports Complex.
The Bison outshot the Eagles 15-3 and dominated possession in the second half on way to their second win of the season.
“It was a beautiful team effort,” Clearfield head coach Todd Winters said. “As soon as we got here, we were focused and ready to go. They were all in it. They all played hard. The subs came in and did a great job. They were ready to play today. We have some goals and we’re shooting for them.”
After withstanding an initial push from BEA, the Bison worked the ball into the visitors’ end of the field, getting shots from Winters and Lopez on their first run.
The shot from Lopez came from the doorstep as he somehow booted the ball from the near post to the far post from about a yard beyond the goal line, sneaking the ball past the keeper and into the top corner for an early advantage at 3:14.
“It’s always great to get that first goal,” Trinidad said. “But we knew one goal in this league isn’t usually enough, so we wanted to keep going and keep playing hard.”
The Bison did just that, creating a couple more scoring opportunities for themselves, while keeping BEA from many quality chances at their own net.
The Eagles had two shots off direct kicks in the first half that keeper Graeson Graves gobbled up and a third off the foot of Carter Stere late in the half that the Bison keeper had to dive to his right and knock out of play to keep it from going in the net.
BEA had a couple other looks at the net in the half, but sent the ball wide on each occasion.
Graves stopped all three shots on goal he faced.
“They didn’t get many past our defense and the ones that did Graeson made some beautiful saves,” Trinidad said. “It’s really nice to have a steady goalkeeper that we can depend on back there.”
Graves was hardly needed in the second half as Clearfield ratcheted up the defense, made plays in the midfield and were getting a monster effort from Winters up top.
Winters had six shots in the game, four of them coming in the second half and all making the BEA keeper earn his saves.
Winters did convert at 53:41 when he made a run through the Eagle defense, staring around the 45, splitting a pair of defenders at the 30 and breaking in all alone on BEA keeper Conner Robinson, who he beat to give the Bison a 2-0 advantage.
“He was dominant,” Trinidad said of Winters. “We’ve kind of been waiting for him to wake up a little and I think he finally got his groove tonight. He was just dominant out there, playing a great game, taking beautiful shots. He was physical and tough and fighting for them.”
Clearfield continued to pepper Robinson with shots throughout the second half, putting a total of 10 on goal from six different players.
“We’ve been working a lot in practice on our shooting,” Trinidad said. “It really paid off. These guys have been working hard in practice. They were getting shots off.
“Their keeper had some really good saves. But this was just a team effort. Everybody was shooting. Everybody was playing defense. We’re all in this together.”
Clearfield did not allow the Eagles a second half shot as Nate Barr, Trevor Hoffman, Hayden Williams and Crae Ruiz were simply impenetrable.
“The defense is keeping us in every single one of these games,” Trinidad said. “They’re animals back there. They’re going after the balls, winning the 50/50s and that’s huge for us. It’s a team effort back there. It’s not just one standout, they are all at the top of their games.”
Clearfield improved to 2-1 overall, while BEA slipped to 3-2.
The Bison travel to Philipsburg-Osceola on Thursday.
Clearfield 2, Bald Eagle Area 0
1. Andrew Lopez, (unassisted), 3:14.
2. Luke Winters, (unassisted), 53:41.
Shots: Bald Eagle Area 3, Clearfield 15.
Saves: Bald Eagle Area () 12, Clearfield (Graeson Graves) 3.
Corner kicks: Bald Eagle Area 2, Clearfield 6.