ROXANA - Roxana High School played host to the 2nd Annual Norman Lewis boy's soccer tournament this week.
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After plenty of time changes due to heat and rain, the tournament finally wrapped up Saturday afternoon with the championship game being played at 2 p.m. before the third-place game at 4 p.m.
Those games were both moved up due to the impending storms called for later Saturday evening.
After all that, both the Civic Memorial Eagles and Lebanon Greyhounds had to deal with cloudy skies and a constant light sprinkling throughout the championship game.
Normally playing in the Metro Cup to open the season, this was the first year that Eagles' head coach Derek Jarman decided to change things up, taking part in the Norman Lewis Tournament instead.
“We started playing some teams that are already on our schedule, so it was ‘let’s do something different,’” Eagles head coach Derek Jarman said. “This was nice to be in it, hopefully, they invite us back next year.”
And on the team's first try, they won thanks to a late goal from junior Trent Heflin to make it 1-0 in the 65th minute.
After the Lebanon goalie stood on his head throughout the game, he made another great save to push away AJ Garrett's skipping shot from distance. Unfortunately for the Greyhounds, the rebound fell straight into the path of Heflin who booted it home into a near empty net.
It was Heflin's first goal of the season and Garrett's third helper in as many games.
The result not only was to win the tournament but just as importantly moved the Eagles to 3-0 on the young season.
“Can't complain about that,” Jarman said.
“There are a lot of people who probably assumed we'd be 0-3 at the beginning of the year when you lose that many seniors, but these guys have a lot of fight and desire. They're fun to coach and we're just trying to get better every single day.”
A 3-0 start can seem a little shocking after graduating 14 seniors a season ago, eight of them key starters, many of them now playing at the college level.
This time around, CM only rosters five seniors. They are a much younger team than in years past.
“It’s a little bit different, but that’s how we started a run like four years ago,” Jarman said. “That’s how you do it, to build them young, keep them going, and hopefully it pays off down the road, or on a day like today.”
The recent 2023 graduating class was the most successful in program history.
A combined three regional titles, and a sectional finals appearance a season ago. A combined 74-23-1 record over the course of four seasons thanks to the help of the program’s all-time leading goal scorer Bryce Davis who amassed an insane 61 goals his senior season alone.
“Last year’s in the rear-view mirror for us, great success that we had, but a lot of these guys were a part of that,” Jarman said.
CM might be a bit younger, but they see no reason as to why they can’t run it back.
After a successful season-opening tournament, the Eagles will look to keep things rolling this week when they take on a pair of away games.
First, they’ll play Metro-East Lutheran on Tuesday at 5 p.m. and then head to Jacksonville, Ill. on Thursday at 4:30 p.m.
CM opens Mississippi Valley Conference action the following week with home games against Waterloo and Highland.
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