AV soccer not dismayed by record

Eagle boys have played some of state’s top-ranked teams

Apple Valley’s Abdirahman Ali Hassan takes a shot in Tuesday’s game at Bloomington Jefferson. Photo by Mike Shaughnessy

Apple Valley’s Abdirahman Ali Hassan takes a shot in Tuesday’s game at Bloomington Jefferson. Photo by Mike Shaughnessy

Apple Valley was 1-3-1 in its first five boys soccer games, which, as people who follow the sport realize, is an un-Apple Valley-like start.

But Eagles coach Chuck Scanlon has been around long enough to know how to put a positive spin on it.

“We’re going to be a good team by the end of the season,” Scanlon said Tuesday night following the Eagles’ 2-0 loss at Bloomington Jefferson. “People will look at our record and think, ‘Oh, Valley’s down,’ and maybe that will help us.”

Scanlon said he wasn’t worried about the slow start, and two Apple Valley captains, Kyle Levac and Kevin Conway, said the same thing.

“This is one of the hardest early season schedules we’ve had since I’ve been here,” said Levac, a senior forward and midfielder. “It’s been kind of a wake-up call for the guys who haven’t played varsity soccer before.”

“We’ve been playing some pretty good teams,” said Conway, a senior midfielder and one of the Eagles’ top offensive threats. “We’ve had some trouble scoring goals, but we moved the ball a lot better (against Jefferson) and had some good chances.”

The Eagles beat Minnehaha Academy 5-0 and tied Richfield 1-1. They lost to Owatonna 3-1 and No. 1-ranked Minneapolis Southwest 2-1 in addition to Tuesday night’s defeat at fourth-ranked Jefferson. Apple Valley was fourth in the state Class AA preseason rankings, but the early losses have since dropped the Eagles out of the top 10.

The Jefferson game was closer than the score suggested. Apple Valley misfired on a penalty kick, while Jefferson scored an insurance goal on a penalty kick in the final minute. The Eagles had several other decent chances, and Scanlon insisted that his team outplayed the Jaguars.

“We have a lot of kids who played on the JV and sophomore teams last year, and varsity soccer is a different deal,” Scanlon said. “We missed the net on a penalty kick; I don’t think we’ve done that in 20 years. But I loved the effort, and we had some good chances to score from about 25 yards out.”

Trenton Webb, the Eagles’ sweeper, is also a captain. Other seniors on the roster are Andy Joerger, Nathan Wilson, Justin Barton, Lane Klumb, Abdirahman Ali Hassan, Collin Trankel and Iver Cleveland. Sophomore Patrick Erredge and Cleveland both have seen playing time in goal.

The Eagles play their next three games at home at Johnny Cake Ridge Field. They take on Park of Cottage Grove in a non-conference game at 5 p.m. Saturday and Burnsville in a South Suburban Conference game at 5 p.m. Sept. 10. Apple Valley plays host to defending Class AA champion Eastview at 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 12.

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