Mattawan edges Niles kickersPublished 9:21am Friday, September 11, 2009
By STEVE MORRISON
Niles Daily Star
For a team that had won only one of seven games, this season, the Mattawan Wildcats boys’ soccer team looked like world-beaters against the host Niles Vikings on Thursday evening, winning 3-1.
The Vikings offense seemed to sputter every time they had control of the ball. Passes and shots sailed off the mark for most of the event.
To its credit, Niles’ defense was pretty sharp.
Niles junior Jacob Stanage and sophomore Cole Krassow threw themselves into the midst of the Wildcats’ charges body-blocking and head-butting the ball away.
Cicone Palamore and Cole Allison did their share to befuddle Mattawan on defense, as well. The Wildcats had 10 shots on goal in the first half and Viking keeper Derek Arguello was on the ball like a cat pouncing on a mouse.
After a yellow card was awarded to Niles forward Derrick Nzabakira for interference on a free kick by Mattawan’s Trevor McElroy, Krassow steped in for Niles and rejected McElroy’s attempt.
A trio of Widcats, Corey Werner-Hoskins, Corey Shean and Austin Pence, were constant nemeses to the Niles defense. The score remained goose eggs until the last minute of the opening period.
At 39:11, Austin Pence rammed home a goal off a rejection by Arguello of Chas Ludlow’s boot. The score stood at a tentative 1-0 lead for Mattawan at intermission.
To begin the second half, Kassim Dafa, Oldie Palafox and Devin Nyers tried to right the Viking’s ship on offense, as they made repetitive surges into Wildcat territory.
Corey Shean caught the Niles defense out of position as he streaked down the right sideline with the ball. His left-footed shot deflected off a Niles player into the net, at 58:49, to give the Wildcats a 2-0 advantage.
In the 61st minute, Niles got its first shot on goal from Nzabakira, but a leaping save by Mattawan keeper Matthew Runk turned away the missile.
Finally, Niles struck for a tally when Palafox took an in-bounds pass from Nyers and scored his second goal of the year on a bullet past Runk.
Although Niles tightened the margin, the 2-1 score didn’t last long. At 72:46, after being tripped, Shean scored his second goal of the game, knifing a penalty shot past Arguello.
The last seven minutes of the contest amounted to a stalemated defensive skirmish with no shots on goal by either team.
After the game Jerry Holtgren, Niles’ coach focused on the results.
“We didn’t generate a whole lot (of offense) today. There were areas that we could have. We were where we needed to be, but we just didn’t play the ball well,” he said. “They (the defense) played strong. They had a lot of pressure. I’m optimistic about our chances, but we just have to get better.”
Niles is now 3-4-1 on the season while Mattawan is now 2-4-2.
Mattawan 1, Niles 0
M – Austin Pence 39:11 (Chas Ludlow assist)
M – Corey Sean 58:49
N – Oldair Palafox, (Devin Nyers assist)
M – Shean
Shots on Goal
Mattawan 4 (Matthew Runk)
Niles 12 (Derek Arguello)