Good things on the Horizon

Despite a sterling 5-0 start to the season, the Horizon Christian Hawks didn't have history on their side heading into their soccer game against North Clackamas Sept. 21.

In the history of Baptist Christian, Summit Christian and Horizon Christian -- the school's new name as of this year -- no team had ever beaten perennial powerhouse and 2000 league champ North Clackamas.

So much for history.

The Hawks totally dismantled North Clackamas by a score of 6-0 behind two goals each by Cheyne Swick and Joel Stenberg, and one each by Paul Rovianek and Brian Stenberg. Freshman goalkeeper Aaron Griffin also made some key saves to preserve the shutout.

"I encouraged my team to not have a start like Thursday (a 6-2 come-from-behind win)," coach Hal Ueland said.

"The first five minutes would determine how we would play the whole match. Usually we start slow and finish strong, so it was up to them how they were going to play."

Apparently, the players weren't happy with themselves after getting down 2-0 to Riverdale in the first half of Thursday's game, because they pounded North Clackamas into submission by the end of the first half on Friday.

Brian Stenberg started the furious scoring attack in the first five minutes with a 20-yard rifle into the upper V. He then set up big brother Joel with a high-arcing corner kick into the box. Joel Stenberg redirected the ball with his head past the goalie to make it 2-0.

Only one minute later, Joel Stenberg led Swick down the left sideline with a pass. Swick outran three defenders before burying the shot from a seemingly impossible angle along the goal line.

The Hawks added one more goal before half on a well-placed bending shot by Rovianek into the lower right corner.

All but deflated, North Clackamas tried to remain competitive in the second half, but Joel Stenberg's control of the midfield, crafty footwork by Rovianek and Swick, and solid defense by John Winters, Dane Ueland and Brian Stenberg made any comback attempt futile.

Mid-way through the second half, Joel Stenberg tallied his second goal on a freekick just outside the North Clackamas box. After stealing the ball at midfield, Stenberg sprinted toward the goal and was tripped up by a defender. The goalkeeper didn't have a chance on the freekick as Stenberg nailed a hammer into the lower right corner to make it 5-0.

The Hawks capped the scoring onslaught later in the second half after a skillful passing series in the box by Swick and Joel Stenberg. Swick finished the play with a powerful strike that caromed off the inside of the post.

"(Stenberg and Swick) have got to be the deadliest combo in our league," Winters said. "If you don't want to guard Cheyne, you have Joel to deal with, and vice versa."

The Stenberg-to-Swick combo has struck for more than a few goals -- and big wins -- already this season. Swick had four goals in the Hawks' 7-0 win over Cascade Locks on Sept. 13, three against Riverdale Thursday, and two each in games against Columbia Christian and North Clackamas.

Another up-and-coming offensive star for the Hawks is sophomore Colin Franger, who already has four goals in the young season -- two against Cascade Locks.

Horizon Christian is already the consensus coaches' pick to win the league. The Hawks play Heritage Christian in their first league home game Thursday, which begins at 4:15 p.m. on the field behind the First Baptist Christian Church on Belmont.

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