The Cartersville boys soccer team is off to a strong start to the season.
The Canes earned a hard-fought 2-1 win Friday on the road over Chestatee to improve to 3-0 on the year.
“That was a very good win for us,” Cartersville head coach D.J. Paradis said. “They’re a very solid high school team that we like to compete against every once in a while. They’re probably our toughest test of the year so far. They’re very physical, and that was our biggest problem last year, is playing teams that are physical. And we were able to match their physicality. We just made a couple more plays than they did.”
Cartersville junior Pedro Robledo scored both goals for the Canes. He scored his first in the 10th minute.
“It was probably one of the prettiest shots that I’ve seen this year so far,” Paradis said of Robledo’s first goal. “It was a ball from about 20 yards out that he hit right under the crossbar, and it bounced down and across the goal line.”
Chestatee tied the score 10 minutes later, scoring on a penalty kick, but Robledo untied the game around the 60th minute.
“We hit a long ball out of the back that he basically headed over the defender for a breakaway, and beat the keeper on a one-on-one,” Paradis said of Robledo’s second goal.
Paradis said Friday’s win was a continuation of the solid play to begin the year.
“We’re playing very well right now, and we’re looking forward to region play in about a week and a half,” Paradis said. “Next week, we have Woodland and Cass first.”
Cartersville will enter next week’s games with some momentum as the Canes have allowed just one goal this season and have scored 13 through the first three games of the year.
“Cesar Abeja, he has anchored our defense in the back,” Paradis said of players who have stepped up. “He has just done it all in the back. Our starting goalkeeper, Marvin Osorio, counting the scrimmage game, he’s had three clean sheets this year. And we have a new center mid, Osbaldo Cindaros. He’s played very well. He’s giving us a little more skill and depth in the midfield.”
Cartersville plays at Woodland Tuesday and hosts Cass Friday.
“That’ll be very exciting,” Paradis said of the in-county games. “They’re always games where I tell my players you can throw records out the window, and it’s the last team standing that week.”
Cartersville will begin region play March 1 with a home game against LaFayette, and will play region title contenders Southeast Whitfield at home March 8 and Northwest Whitfield on the road March 25.
“It’s going to be pretty tough whenever you have Northwest Whitfield and Southeast Whitfield. You have two very capable and strong teams in your region,” Paradis said of the strength of Region 7-AAAA this year. “We know they’re probably the class of the field. We think we have a team that can compete with both of them this season. Hopefully, we can make a run at region, get a top seed because that’s going to be very important this year in playoffs because we match up with a region [Region 6] with some of the top teams in the state when it comes to soccer.”