DURHAM — Former Carrboro soccer coach Mark Kadlecik appears to have left a well-stocked cupboard behind as he leaves the Jaguar program.
“This is a great program to take over,” first-year Carrboro head coach Jared Drexler said last week. “Every year, Carrboro has great players who are great kids with real character, too. This group is no different. They’ve got great character to go with great soccer.”
Despite the graduation of seven lettermen last spring, including all-state players Mike McPeak (Newberry College) and Thar Thwai (Catawba College), Carrboro barely missed a beat last week in a dress rehearsal for the 2013 fall season.
The Jaguars won a full-scale, 80-minute scrimmage at Durham Academy 2-0 on Tuesday. The match was played with a full set of officials and a running scoreboard, and about 100 fans showed up to watch.
“We’re fortunate in that we have a very good relationship with our public school neighbors,” DA coach Julian Cochran said. “We play Jordan every season and play Carrboro when we can. We’ve also played Chapel Hill and East Chapel Hill when we can.”
DA’s Cavaliers came decked out last Tuesday in white game uniforms, while Carrboro opted for more laid back look of black shorts and purple practice jerseys.
“This was a good start,” Drexler said as he followed his players off the DA pitch. “I know people might say it’s only a scrimmage, but you’ve got to start somewhere, and it’s good to have a positive start.”
Carrboro started fast, scoring in the sixth minute after Nico Krachenfels launched a free kick across the box. Luke Hickey collected the ball and volleyed it in for a 1-0 Jaguar lead.
Krachenfels made it 2-0 in the 54th minute, taking a nice pass from Carlos Paiz near midfield and beating two defenders into the box. Krachenfels chipped the ball over onrushing goalkeeper Kiran Nagar for the score.
“Nico had a nice goal with that chip,” Drexler said.
Drexler will be counting on Krachenfels and Paiz, as well as Hickey and Mark Rovner, to spark the Carrboro offense. Murat Calikoglu looked good against DA solidifying the Carrboro midfield, and Richard Cato notched a shutout in goal.
“We lost some good players, like Thar and Mikey, the Callaham twins (Alex and Sergei), Vic Sullivan and others,” Drexler said. “But we still have some strong players out there. We’ll be okay.”
Drexler is familiar with most of his players. He served two years as an assistant to Kadlecik, now retired from high school coaching to serve full time as a MLS and NCAA official and as Triangle director of officials. Drexler last year succeeded Kadlecik as head women’s coach at East Chapel Hill and also worked as head JV boys’ coach at Carrboro.
He benefits greatly from inheriting veteran coach Steve Turner – who guided one of the best boys’ teams ever in the state to an undefeated season in 2010 at Jordan – as an assistant at Carrboro.
Drexler worked with Kadlecik, Turner and the Jaguars as they completed an 18-7-1 season in the 2012 state championship final, where they lost to Waxhaw Cuthbertson.
“I know the boys are eager to get back there,” Drexler said. “It’s hard to do, but I’d love to get back there myself.
“For now, it’s still a long way away. There’s lots of practice and hard work between now and then.”