Hibbing Daily Tribune

HIBBING — As the Hibbing/Chisholm High School boys soccer team enters the Section 7A playoffs, the Bluejackets will be missing one important player — Hunter Carpenter.

Carpenter was injured on Saturday in St. Anthony Village, and the extent of the injury won’t allow him to play today when Hibbing/Chisholm takes on Two Harbors in a 4 p.m., contest at Vic Power Field.

Carpenter might not be able to play, he’ll still be there on the sideline cheering on his fellow teammates.

His absence on the field will be missed, however.

“That hurts us in the midfield,” Hibbing coach Joe Edman said. “He establishes control on the ball, and we’ll miss his leadership. He was chosen as our first captain, so our other captains Vitek (Vozdecky) and Payton (Forer) will have to step up and fill his shoes.”

Vozdecky and Forer aren’t the only two that have to step up.

“This gives an opportunity for our younger guys to get more playing time,” Edman said. “Hunter has a motor that doesn’t quit, but this gives more time for our freshmen. They will need to step in and establish their roles. They will also be happy playing more minutes.

“We’ll still have Hunter’s attitude. He’ll be helping the team from the bench. He has an impact there, too. That leadership coming from a peer is something the players listen to more intently. It’s a nice piece to have. A lot of men his age get frustrated because they can’t participate, but he can still contribute even though he’s injured.”

Even without Carpenter, Edman likes the way this team is playing heading into the postseason. The two teams did tie in a game played on Oct. 9, in Hibbing.

“I like that they’re playing smart, and they’re tough,” Edman said. “We have a good chance at putting away Two Harbors as long as we don’t make any mistakes early on. That’s what led to the tie, an early mistakes, then we were able to fight our way back into that one.

“Our defense should hold up against Two Harbors.”

Edman knows that the Agates won’t go down without a fight.

“The one thing they did well at in

the previous game was as the game wore on, they never gave up,” Edman said. “As far as skill and speed go, we match up well with them. I think we have more speed than them.”

The Bluejackets have to use that speed to their advantage.

“On defense, we have to make sure we’re not making any mistakes early in the game,” Edman said. “They have to not panic I’ve seen them do well once they establish control early in the game.

“They hold up well under a lot of pressure. They’re fairly seasoned now, so they’re in shape and ready to go.”

How will those younger players handle their first 7A playoff experience?

“They’ve developed their skills at an amazing rate,” Edman said. “They have those tactical skills and endurance you can coah over time. You can see the differences in them from week-to-week.

“They’ve improved their touches, and their ability to shoot has improved. What will test them is their cohesion and communication. I have high hopes for them because they’re smart kids.”

Now it’s time for this young Bluejacket team to go out and show what they can do.

“They have a big opportunity to show people what they’re made of,” Edman said. “I’m proud of them. Win or lose, I have faith in them and their efforts. I try to keep them looking at their cumulative careers rather than just this game.

“They have time to develop their skills and get bigger and faster.”

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